AS Britain takes tentative steps towards the end of lockdown, a Handforth company could play a major role in helping businesses reopen in the ‘new normal’.

Technology firm Aspire4 has developed a new gadget which scans the temperature of workers’ eyeballs to detect one of the biggest signs of Covid-19.

It uses thermal fever screening technology to scan the inner eye – the most accurate gauge of the body’s core temperature – to indicate if someone has a fever.

And with no vaccine for the virus currently available, the kit is being hailed as a crucial first line of defence in the battle against the coronavirus.

Garry Hillman, managing director of Aspire4, said: “As businesses return to work following lockdown, we must ensure that we all play our part in limiting the spread of Covid-19.

“Workplaces cannot simply return to how they were before; there needs to be a big emphasis on keeping workers protected from the virus, and the use of technology is a big part of this.

“By harnessing thermal fever technology we can help businesses get back to work in the confidence that they can identify employees who are showing the symptoms of the virus with a one-second scan.”

Thermal fever screening has already become mandatory in many parts of the world post-lockdown, including Dubai, where it is used in shopping malls and hotels.

Aspire4 says the technology is set to play a huge part in reopening workplaces, restaurants, bars, leisure facilities and many other industries.

Mr Hillman said: “Employees will only return to the workplace when they feel it is safe, so fever detection will play a vital role in getting the country back to work and kick-starting the economy again.

“It’s clear that as we reopen the country again we can’t just go back to normal. We will all have to do our bit to keep ourselves and our colleagues, friends and family safe.”

The system is designed to help employers across the country allow workers to return by identifying those who are ill and preventing them from infecting colleagues.

It scans a worker’s face and produces a traffic light system-style answer, with red forbidding entry to the premises, amber meaning care must be taken and green giving the all-clear.

Mr Hillman said the device had a 0.3 degree margin of error, making it one of the most accurate on the market, and it had been endorsed by industry regulators.

Aspire4 had already been developing an auditing and access control system using this device before the Covid-19 outbreak hit, with the kit also working to detect other regular illnesses.

It was initially intended to help businesses boost productivity by cracking down on false sick days.

Mr Hillman said: “We started work with the technology in late January, but it had been in the planning stages for many months, long before Covid-19 was an issue.

“It was supposed to help identify regular illnesses such as the common cold and sickness bugs that go around, but it works perfectly for viruses too.

“I wanted to tackle the huge problem of unnecessary sick days costing employers vast sums of money and resulting in a frightening lack of productivity.”

The camera can be adapted to suit a business’s needs, such as being integrated into an access control system or even one of the firm’s hand sanitizer dispenser units.