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Chinese technology supports Buenos Aires malls reopening in post-pandemic era

(Xinhua)    10:24, October 20, 2020

BUENOS AIRES, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Chinese technology is helping shopping centers in Argentina's capital Buenos Aires to reopen after lockdown measures against the COVID-19 pandemic closed commercial establishments for nearly seven months.

Chinese-made heat sensitive cameras installed at entrances detect potential sources of infection to keep everyone safe, along with social distancing and sanitary measures.

IRSA, the firm that operates the city's main shopping centers, acquired the cameras from Chinese company Hikvision.

"Hikvision thermographic solutions have two cameras, one optical and one thermographic. The thermographic sensor, in particular, has a chip with advanced technology that develops artificial intelligence algorithms," said Martin Izikovic, representative of Protection Now, a company responsible for equipping IRSA malls with the technology.

"First it recognizes the person, their face, and then their forehead, and is able to measure (body) temperature," Izikovic said.

If the camera detects a temperature that's higher than normal, it emits an alarm to notify the person and operators of a possible fever and activate the current protocols for COVID-19.

In the Alto Palermo shopping center in the north of the capital and Abasto Shopping in central Buenos Aires, other security measures have been put in place at entrances, including sanitizer stations.

Since recreational centers remain closed and food courts sell only takeaways, the malls are not yet attracting as many families as before, according to Romina Castellano, who works at a local home goods store.

"But the holidays are coming. In November there will be more (consumer) activities, and we hope things will turn better soon," Castellano said.

"We are very happy to finally be able to reopen ... but along the way we lost between 25 percent and 30 percent of tenants that will no longer be back," Sergio Dattil, manager of Institutional Relations at IRSA, told Xinhua.

However, "we are committed to rebuilding this industry that, without doubt, is one of the worst-hit by the pandemic," he added.

Argentina detected its first case of COVID-19 on March 3 and declared a general lockdown on March 20 that lasts until Oct. 25, though restrictions on certain activities have already been relaxed.

Nearly 1 million people in Argentina have tested positive for the virus and about 26,000 have died from the disease.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Liang Jun)

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