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Hong Kong trials robots and disinfecting pods

A member of staff trials the new disinfection pods.

Hong Kong Airport is trialling cleaning robots and disinfecting ‘pods’ to protect passengers from COVID-19 infection.

The airport is the first in the world to use the CLeanTech technology. The full-body disinfection channels are currently being trialled by airport staff and the airport hopes that the technology will be rolled out for passenger use when flights are running again.

After a temperature check, the member of staff enters an enclosed ‘booth’ for a 40-second disinfection and sanitisation procedure which is claimed to kill all bacteria, including the coronavirus.

The interior surface of the pod has an antimicrobial coating which can remotely kill virus and bacteria on human bodies and clothing using photocatalyst technologies and ‘nano needles’.

Passengers are also sprayed with sanitiser for instant disinfection.

The pod is kept under negative pressure to prevent cross-contamination between the inside and outside environment.

Other gizmos being trialled by Hong Kong Airport Authority (AA) include autonomous cleaning robots and high tech cleansing products.

The Intelligent Sterilisation Robot is equipped with ultraviolet light steriliser and air steriliser. It can move around unaided and can sterilise 99.99% of bacteria in its vicinity, including in the air and on surfaces, in just ten minutes.

The AA is also conducting a pilot test of applying antimicrobial coating to all high touch surfaces, including handles and seats in airport buses, check-in counters, toilets, seating areas in the terminal, baggage trolleys and lift buttons. When the trial ends this month, the AA will consider implementing it as a long term disinfection measure.

“The safety and wellbeing of airport staff and passengers are always our first priority,” said Steven Yiu, deputy director, service delivery of the AA. “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.”

In June, Cathay Pacific has indicated that it will be increasing its passenger flights for the first time since the coronavirus crisis began. After a near-grounding of its fleet, the airline is now planning to increase flight frequency to destinations including the UK, US, Canada and Australia, subject to government travel restrictions.


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