The Airport Authority (AA) of Hong Kong is testing a new full-body disinfectant machine to protect passengers and airport staff from COVID-19 transmission.
Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) has been experimenting with multiple sanitization technologies, including “disinfection channels, antimicrobial coating and autonomous cleaning robots,” to promote a higher level of cleanliness and hygiene while implementing preventative measures to hinder the spread of coronavirus.
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One such measure is the testing of this new machine.
“HKIA is the world’s first airport where ‘CLeanTech,’ a full-body disinfection channel facility, is trialled in live operation,” an official press release, initially published in Chinese, explains.
Individuals using the machine will have their temperature checked before entering the enclosed space, and the complete disinfection and sanitization procedure takes all of 40 seconds.
“The interior surface of the channel is equipped with an antimicrobial coating which can remotely kill viruses and bacteria on human bodies and clothing by using the technologies of photocatalyst and ‘nano needles,'” the release describes.
The machine also uses sanitizing spray for “instant disinfection.”
The prevention of cross-contamination between the inner and outer spaces is maintained by keeping the machine under negative pressure.
At this moment, the machine is being utilized by staff performing “public health and quarantine duties” in the airport who directly interact with arriving travellers.
On top of the “CLeanTech” full-body machine, the AA is also conducting pilot testing of an antimicrobial coating. The experiment is carried out by covering all areas with which passengers may come into contact, with “an invisible coating to destroy germs, bacteria, and viruses.” The coating is placed on frequently touched surfaces, including handles on moving walkways, passenger transportation such as busses, and self-check-in machines.
Additional surfaces include check-in counters, toilets, terminal seating areas, baggage carousels, buttons in elevators, and more.
After studying the results of this trial in May, the organization will determine whether or not the procedures will be implemented in the long term.
HKIA is also utilizing “autonomous cleaning robots” to promote further disinfection of passenger areas and facilities.
According to the release, an “Intelligent Sterilization Robot,” equipped with an ultraviolet light sterilizer and an air purifier, moves independently “around the clock” in public bathrooms and other significant operational areas within the terminal, sanitizing up to 99.99% of bacteria in its area. It can filter air and clean surfaces in only 10 minutes.
Steven Yiu, Deputy Director of Service Delivery for the AA, said in the release that ensuring the health and safety of airport workers and travellers is the organization’s primary priority.
“Although air traffic has been impacted by the pandemic, the AA spares no effort in ensuring that the airport is a safe environment for all users. We will continue to look into new measures to enhance our cleaning and disinfection work,” he stated.