Charles-de-Gaulles and Orly in Paris – the main French airports for international travel – have installed thermal cameras in their airports to check that none of the passengers arriving have abnormally high body temperatures.
The measure was set up as part of France's strategy to detect and isolate new coronavirus cases, especially as international travel resumes.
Set up in the airports' luggage areas, the cameras are not easily visible to the travellers and screen passengers arriving on both domestic and international flights.
“If your temperature is above 38C, you will be invited to proceed to a second temperature check with a contact-less thermometer,” the group Paris Aeroport wrote in an online statement.
If the second test confirms that a passenger's temperature to be higher than 38C, “we will suggest you organise a medical visit with a doctor who will, if required, offer you to be tested with a COVID-19 PCR test”, the statement said.
An Air France employee checks the body temparture of passengers boarding an Air France flight at the Charles de Gaulle Airport north of Paris. Photo: AFP
There is no indication as to what happen if a person with a proved temperature above 38C declines the coronavirus test, but they could potentially be barred from exiting the airport.
The French former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said in June that the goal was to detect and isolate “any person coming into the national territory presenting symptoms of a Covid-19 infection during health controls.”
Anyone whose PCR test – a Q-tip test to check if a person has the coronavirus – comes back positive will be placed in a mandatory 14-day isolation (quatorzaine, in French).
They will be offered a place to stay during this isolation period by French health authorities.
The temperature checking needs to be widely advertised @GroupeADP @ParisAeroport Social media is full of people saying they are arriving without any checks including from the UK@TheLocalFrance https://t.co/tGCl3ftdHG
— Femme Francophile (@femmefrancophil) July 7, 2020
Anyone leaving France could also get their temperatures checked on some flights – especially on Air France flights, according to French daily Le Parisien.
Anyone showing a temperature above 38C can be refused to board the plane.
The procedure was set in place when France began to loosen up its strict, nationwide confinement set in place to curb the spread of the virus.
Getting a temperature check upon arrival is just one out of several health rules tourists in France must follow at the moment, alongside respecting the government's general advice on hygienic routines – coughing and sneezing in your elbow and washing hands often – and wearing a mask in several public spaces.
Travellers without coronavirus symptoms are advised but not required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival in France.
Caméras thermiques – thermal cameras
Quatorzaine – 14-day quarantine
Dépistage – testing