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Coronavirus fight takes sci-fi turn with walk-in disinfecting booth at airport

Hong Kong airport tests a "full-body disinfection channel facility."

This CleanTech booth at the Hong Kong International Airport is being used by some staff members.
Hong Kong International Airport
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Decontamination scenes are a staple in science fiction, but there's a real version of a disinfecting chamber under trial at Hong Kong International Airport.

The booth first checks a person's temperature before welcoming them inside for a 40-second disinfection process. 

The "full-body disinfection channel facility" involves a multi-faceted cleaning approach. "The interior surface of the channel is equipped with antimicrobial coating which can remotely kill virus and bacteria on human bodies and clothing," the Airport Authority Hong Kong said in a release late last month.

This view shows the interior of the CleanTech booth.

Hong Kong International Airport

The booth sprays a sanitizing liquid from BioEm into the air. "The channel is kept under negative pressure to prevent cross-contamination between the outside and inside environment," the airport said.

Hong Kong International is the first airport to use the CleanTech J-1 facility, but the AsiaWorld-Expo convention center in Hong Kong announced in late March it was the first to install one of the booths.

The facility isn't for passengers, at least not yet. It's currently in use by staff involved with public health duties at the airport. While the booth could be effective in killing viruses on the exterior surfaces of a person, it's not meant to treat COVID-19.

The CleanTech J-1 is just one aspect of the Hong Kong airport's overall coronavirus cleaning plans, which also include the application of an antimicrobial coating on common surfaces and the deployment of a robot with a UV light sterilizer.

While consumers aren't likely to get their own CleanTech booths, there are still plenty of practical measures you can take to disinfect everything from your phone to your home and car. It's just not as futuristic.

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