Question & Answer

Is thermal scanner technology effective in detecting COVID-19?

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  • There are claims on social media that thermal scanner technology (such as thermal scanners) is effective in detecting COVID-19. These claims have grown as the use of this technology has increased in places such as business and airports.
  • The World Health Organization has said that thermal scanners are not effective in detecting if a person has COVID- 19.
  • A viral test is the only way to detect if a person has COVID-19.
  • Thermal scanners are effective in detecting if a person has a fever (i.e. a higher than average body temperature).
  • A fever is one of the symptoms of COVID-19; however, there are many other possible causes of a fever.
  • If you have a fever or any other symptoms of COVID-19, you should self-isolate and phone your GP to discuss your symptoms and who will help you decide if you need a test for COVID-19.

Things to Remember


  • Lead Researcher: Dr Claire Beecher, HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network & Evidence Synthesis Ireland, NUI Galway.
  • Reviewed by: Prof Declan Devane, School of Nursing and Midwifery, HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network, Evidence Synthesis Ireland & Cochrane Ireland, NUI Galway.
  • Evidence Advisor: Dr Darren Dahly, Principal Statistician, HRB Clinical Research Facility, Cork, Ireland, and Senior Lecturer in Research Methods in the UCC School of Public Health.
  • Evidence Advisor: Deirdre Mac Loughlin, PPI Ignite, NUI Galway.
  • Journalist Advisor: Dr Claire O’Connell, Contributor, The Irish Times.