Islamabad International Airport To Use Dogs For COVID-19 Screening

June 30th, 2021
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Pakistan’s Islamabad International Airport has joined several other airports in enlisting dogs as COVID-19 detectors. These dogs have high levels of accuracy and will screen travelers arriving into the country to prevent further transmission of the coronavirus.

Although K9 units are common in airports, they are typically deployed to sniff out various narcotics smuggled or concealed explosives. However, the current global pandemic has called for special ways to curb the spread of the virus.

Helsinki and Dubai airports have already started deploying dogs, and the authorities at Islamabad International Airport have decided to follow suit. The Pakistan Army will be providing four of their specially trained dogs for the job. The dogs will screen travelers arriving in the city. Although they won’t be the main meaning of screening, the airport will use them alongside antigen tests and thermal scanners.

Rather than sniffing passengers and their luggage like they would search for contraband, the dogs would take a different approach. Airport authorities would carefully collect a sample of sweat from passengers, and this sample would be presented to the dogs in a separate isolated room for screening.

The dogs at Islamabad International are unique because of their training. According to research, dogs can sniff out COVID-19 with up to 95% accuracy even before observable symptoms. Because of this, dogs are now being trained across the world.

The airport’s decision to use the dogs in screening for COVID-19 comes after several passengers with the virus had tried to get through security with fake negative test results. This week, the initiative was approved earlier this week by Pakistan’s National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) earlier this week.

These sniffer dogs are already in service at Dubai Airport and Helsinki’s Vantaa Airport. Other countries such as Lebanon and Thailand have also embraced this screening method for the COVID-19 virus in some airports.