IR Scan @ Muscat Airport

25 05 2009

So, we have IR scanners at our airport. I knew that  there was ‘increased security’ and that ‘it takes longer to exit’ after departing the plane, but, as usual, details on what was happening were scarce. Now, KT has this suitably small news.

MUSCAT — Oman’s health authorities have advised citizens and residents visiting swine flu affected countries to exercise caution, such as washing hands frequently and avoiding congested places.

IR camera in the UK

An IR camera in the UK

The Health Ministry also said no cases of the H1N1 virus had been detected in the country. It added precautionary steps adopted by the Sultanate included installing thermal scanners at the Muscat International Airport.

The infrared scanners, which became operational last week, is set at 38 degree Celsius and records body temperatures of passengers as they enter the arrival lounge. Rashid bin Hamdan Al Hajri, Director of the Medical Technology Department at the ministry explained: “If a passenger’s body emits a temperature of more than 38 degrees, the scanner will show his image in red and set off an alarm.

The passenger will then be examined  at the airport, and if necessary, transferred to a hospital.

I like how such matters are thought of, planned, decided and implmented with minimum of fuss and hoopla that surrounds the same activities where citizen rights are a concern. No petitions, no discussions, no pointless to-and-fro. A very simple case of “Swine flu causes fever – fever is observed by body tempurature – it is detectable by IR camera – buy and install them”, and that’s it!

So, naturally, I wonder what the camera’s output is. Is it focused on the target’s head? Is it a body scan? Are there separate cameras for men and women? Is the output being seen separately by men officers and women officers? ‘Coz there is variety out there. There are sophisticated scanners and really neat ones that give some rad outputs (kinda nsfw).

But I don’t know, coz I haven’t been to the airport in, ahhh, a couple of months now. If I had, I would’ve managed to sneak a peek behind the counter. I even once got to see the whole thingy, as there was a foam shooter thingy that was nagging the dude and so he called me and showed me the X-ray display and asked me what that was. Since my usual eloquence was unable to convince him, he had the bag opened for a visual inspection, allowing me stand there all the time and gawk at the x-ray scanner… yiippee!! =)

-FK

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Catch 22 (me if you can)!

5 04 2009

Hmm.. I wanted both of them to be this post’s title. I even thought of double posting with two titles! Anyz.

Reading through this news article in the Gulf News set me thinking. An exit pass is when we are all returned our passports, then are required to get a signed piece of paper to show/submit everytime we cross the border, by land or air. I think that is worse-er than having to submit your passport! Atleast I can get my p-port from Company 47 once and travel 2-3 times before returning it, as long as I have my off-days! But with this exit permit, if we have a 10-day holiday, and I plan to travel to Oman-UAE-Oman-UAE-Oman, does that mean 2 exit passes? Who’s gonna get it signed from Company47 during the hols? What if my 2nd trip is *shudder* unplanned?

Such a travel is indeed a possibility. I recently bought a car from Dubai (before the prices hit rock-bottom, sadly). I then drove it here (went by bus 1st time), got it registered, parked it here and went back in my own car to spend the rest of my off days there. And all that with my pport with me!

SA and Qatar are using exit passes only because they are the 2 countries that are ‘left’ doing so. The others have moved on, progressed.

Another good read.

So in a nutshell, we want our passports to be free to travel and that results in us being even more trapped. And to avoid being even more trapped, we have to submit our passports.

Sigh! Where’s my red pill? Atleast no pport is required there.

-TFK