Amazon To Halt Covid Testing For US Workers

Amazon has said it will end its on-site testing of US warehouse workers for Coronavirus, despite ongoing infections in the United States.

The Information first reported that Amazon had informed workers on Monday that it will end on-site Covid-19 testing at its US warehouses. Amazon confirmed the decision separately to The Verge that it halt its testing operations in the US by 30th July.

There are some questions over Amazon’s decision, considering that only 48 percent of the US population is currently vaccinated, and infection rates are rising – mostly down to the highly infectious Delta variant (first found in India).

Image credit: Amazon

Covid testing

And there is the issue that a portion of Americans are refusing to be vaccinated, despite the fact that 99 percent of US people dying at the moment did not receive their shots.

And the Information reported that in some of the states in which Amazon has warehouse facilities, such as Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi, the Covid-19 vaccination rates for adults under 64 is less than 40 percent.

Yet Amazon has confirmed it is ending Covid testing on 30 July for US warehouse workers.

“Free COVID-19 testing is now widely available and our employees have many options available to them, including through health providers and public testing sites,” part of the message reads, according to the Information.

Amazon did reportedly say it could resume its employee testing program at any point if needed.

Protection measures

Amazon it should be remembered built its own Coronavirus testing labs to monitor the health of its staff back in April 2020, when the pandemic began raging around the world.

It also introduced many protection measures for staff during the pandemic, but that did not prevent nearly 20,000 staff being infected by Covid-19 as Q3 last year.

Indeed, the firm has been criticised for failing to protect staff during the pandemic, and in February Letitia James, New York’s attorney general, filed a lawsuit against Amazon, alleging ‘disregard for health and safety requirements’ and retaliation against employees who raised alarms.

But Amazon has also been scaling back testing for other issues as well.

Last month Amazon announced that it will no longer test staff for the use of marijuana before they are hired (delivery drivers will still be tested).

Amazon also endured some flak on social media when it revealed plans to install “wellness” booths displaying videos about relaxation into its warehouses as part of its response to criticism over staff working conditions.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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