Portsmouth International Port is getting ready to welcome the return of cruise passengers following the suspension of sailings by installing a thermal temperature scanner to screen passengers for symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19) before they embark.

The major UK port is claiming to be the first to install the device, which uses a camera detection system to monitor the temperature of passengers to help support infection control on board and will be offered as an option for cruise lines to use prior to arrival.

Portsmouth International Port director, Mike Sellers, said: “We want to make sure we’re in the best position to welcome back passengers in a managed, safe and sensible way.

“Being able to help support our cruise lines by providing solutions for potential health protocols, should operators choose to use it for their customers, means we’re ready to go once travel restrictions are eased.

“There are ongoing discussions about a common framework for health screenings, which are being explored by all transport operators.

“Until there is an international standard we want to make sure we can meet a universal expectation to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus.”

Portsmouth International Port

The thermal imaging scanner is one a raft of measures being implemented to prioritise health and safety once the port reopens.

These other measures include appropriate full-face PPE for customer-facing staff, social distancing measures, clinical level hand sanitation products on door handles and cleaning stations.

Sellers has also said that he very much supports the introduction of sea bridges “to help encourage safe travel”.

He continued: “Our key workers continued to operate since the lockdown restrictions were implemented providing essential operations for critical freight and lifeline services. It is even more important as a major port we have the right measures in place to manage the flow of people as well as goods safely.

“We’ve been listening to our cruise customers about what needs to be in place when travel restrictions are eased.

“Even if overseas travel is delayed, UK based itineraries will still be popular as the public look to find a way to have a break locally. As a port suited to small medium-sized, boutique ships, we’re in an ideal position to manage a phased return to sailing, especially with the draw of our city’s attractions.

“We support the idea for sea bridges to help encourage safe travel. As a method of transport ships provide outside space, room to move around indoors, and lend themselves to social distancing measures.”

For the complete list of cruise lines that have suspended sailings and when they plan to resume, click here.

Visit portsmouth-port.co.uk for more information.