SEOUL: South Korea has opened a high-tech new front in the battle against coronavirus, fortifying bus shelters with temperature-checking doors and ultraviolet disinfection lamps.
Ten advanced facilities have been installed in a northeastern district of Seoul, offering protection from monsoon rains, summer heat and the coronavirus.
To enter, passengers must stand in front of an automated thermal-imaging camera, and the door will only slide open if their temperature is below 37.5 degrees Celsius.
A separate camera is installed lower down to test children.
A man checks his temperature before entering the bus shelter. (Photo: AFP/Jung Yeon-je)
Inside the glass-walled booths – which cost about 100 million won (US$84,000) each – the air-conditioning systems have ultraviolet lamps installed to kill viruses at the same time as cooling the air.
A dispenser provides hand sanitiser, and users are advised to wear face masks at all times, while keeping at least 1m apart from others.
The glass-walled booths cost about 100 million won (US$84,000) each. (Photo: AFP/Jung Yeon-je)
“We have installed all the available anti-coronavirus measures we can think of into this booth,” Kim Hwang-yun, a district official in charge of the Smart Shelter project, told AFP.
Free Wi-Fi is also included.
Since they were installed last week each booth has been used by about 300 to 400 people a day, Kim said.
To ensure passengers do not miss their bus, a panel displays estimated arrival times while a screen live-streams the traffic outside.
Inside the shelters, a panel displays estimated arrival times while a screen live-streams the traffic outside. (Photo: AFP/Jung Yeon-je)
South Korea endured one of the worst early coronavirus outbreaks outside China but brought it broadly under control with an extensive “trace, test and treat” programme while never imposing a compulsory lockdown.
READ: 3 new mutated COVID-19 strains detected in South Korea: Report
Kim Ju-li, a 49-year-old housewife using the new bus stop for the first time, told AFP: “I feel really safe in here because I know others around me had their temperatures checked as well as me.”
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