COVID-19 Omicron Variant: Tighter rules introduced in England

We can offer a range of solutions to help mitigate COVID 19 risks

Face Mask DetectionFace Mask Detection

Concerns about the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 has led the UK government to move to its winter plan B.  It has reintroduced tougher measures in England to reduce the spread of Coronavirus, which means it may be time to consider solutions developed to help enforce these rules.

New rules introduced to mitigate the risks of the Covid-19 Omicron variant

The government recommended people work from home if they can from Monday 13th December because of the fast-spreading Omicron variant of Covid 19. Compulsory wearing of face coverings in shops and on public transport in England as well as in communal areas of universities, colleges and secondary schools was re-introduced at the end of November. These requirements were expanded to most public indoor venues, such as cinemas, theatres and places of worship from 10th December.

Additionally, from 15th December, the NHS Covid Pass on the NHS App will become mandatory for entry into nightclubs and settings where large crowds gather, including unseated indoor events with 500 or more attendees, unseated outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees and any event with 10,000 or more attendees. People will be able to demonstrate proof of two vaccine doses via the app or proof of a negative lateral flow test.

Solutions available to reduce transmission of COVID-19 

Covid-19, including the Omicron variant, is transmitted through liquid particles when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks or breathes. Therefore, in addition to the mandatory requirements, guidance about limiting the spread of the virus continues to suggest we should ideally practice social distancing and avoid crowded indoor spaces although good ventilation within buildings can also help.

We can offer a range of solutions that have been developed to help reinforce rules about face coverings, follow social distancing guidance, and to help with occupancy management that have been developed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Face Mask Detection: Avigilon Control Center 7 software

Face Mask Detection technology is available within the Avigilon Control Center (ACC) video management software version ACC 7.6.4 or higher and can be used with their advanced H4A and H5A CCTV cameras.  This advanced video-based detection technology is able to accurately detect objects in the camera’s field of view, classify them as humans and determine whether the subject is not wearing a mask.

This feature relies on AI-enabled video analytics and prompts an automated alert through the ACC7 software allowing you to take action such as making an audible warning to those involved. Ecl-ips has expertise in integrating the Avigilon CCTV system with IP enabled speakers and a SIP microphone as part of its school lockdown solution, and can now offer this so you can easily provide audible warnings via this technology.

Social Distancing Detection: Advanced Avigilon software and cameras

This feature, which requires at least ACC 7.8 software combined with additional embedded analytics within a H5A Avigilon camera, allows CCTV operators to identify breaches of social distancing guidance.  The distance between two or more individuals is monitored and the system highlights when the distance falls under the recommended threshold and for how long.  If these are avoidable breaches then this system could also be integrated with an audible warning.

The technology can also demonstrate to those managing commercial spaces or other buildings like schools or healthcare settings where there are potential bottlenecks and so social distancing will be difficult. This will allow managers to make changes within the buildings, for example, by only allowing people to walk in one direction through a corridor, or by changing an office layout.

Avigilon’s Occupancy management technology

The Occupancy Counting feature in ACC 7, can provide organisations an easy and streamlined way to count and identify the number of people on your premises if you want to follow social distancing guidance and limit the numbers on your premises. The feature aims to remove the staffing costs required to count people manually and the subsequent guesswork on occupancy by frontline employees, particularly where facilities have multiple entry and exit points.

This is available if you have H4A or H5A cameras and ACC 7.6.4 or a higher version of the software and are using Avigilon Cloud Services (ACS). The feature can also be available if you have third-party cameras attached to an Avigilon ACC ES 8-Port Appliance. The cameras should be specially placed at the entry and exit points of a facility or area to monitor traffic.

Access Control Solutions from Paxton to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 

Paxton Access has enhanced its Net2 access control software to help you enforce social distancing rules to reduce Covid-19 risks. With the Net2 v6.05 upgrade you can help your customers protect their staff and visitors by monitoring and approving people as they enter your building. This could help in premises where you need to check NHS COVID Passes as people come in.

Net2 Checkpoint Control works by funnelling people through to one entrance point which, when they enter, allows you to do extra monitoring, and then a validation process which can be manual or automatic by using a person’s access control accreditation. Additionally, you can create checkpoints within a building where users must be validated before they can access other areas, helping to follow health and safety guidelines and protect the well-being of staff and visitors.

An earlier upgrade of the software (Net2 v6.04) introduced Net2 Occupancy Management which helps you manage the flow of people around your building more easily so you can control the maximum number of people in any given area. Once that maximum number is reached you can set the software to automatically deny access or send a notification to a manager to allow them to take action.

Solutions to help frontline staff enforce tighter COVID-19 rules

Enforcing the mandatory wearing of face coverings to enforce Covid-19 rules could be challenging, for security guards and customer-facing staff working in retail and public transport, if people object to these rules. However, Avigilon now offers the VB400 toughened body-worn camera for security staff, and the lightweight VT100 body-worn camera, designed for customer-facing teams which can be integrated with its video management software, ACC7.

This can give staff peace of mind that members of the public will be deterred from acting in an aggressive manner if they see they are wearing the camera. Additionally, if there is an altercation it is easy to start recording footage and which will activate a motion start event and display the camera’s live video feed within ACC7. This will provide evidence, if required, of the event or security personnel can make the decision to send extra staff to support others if required.

The advanced technology within the VB400 also means that if the camera is paired with select radios over Bluetooth, it can automatically record when the user’s radio enters an “emergency state”, when the user presses the radio’s emergency button, and when the radio’s man down sensor detects the user is down.

How we can help you mitigate COVID-19 risks 

We offer a range of CCTV and access control solutions that can be used to enforce rules being introduced due to the Omicron variant of Covid-19 around face coverings and social distancing and can demonstrate how they can help you. If you want to know more about the advanced security systems developed by Avigilon and Paxton Access please get in touch.