Coronavirus: Amazon Admits 20,000 Staff Infected By Covid-19

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Nearly 20,000 staff have been infected by Coronavirus, Amazon reveals after concerns about warehouse conditions during pandemic

Amazon has revealed that a large number of its global workforce have been struck down with Coronavirus.

The admission came in a blog post in which the e-commerce giant discussed Covid-19 testing. The firm built its own Coronavirus testing labs to monitor the health of its staff back in April, when the pandemic was raging around the world.

Despite the fact Amazon implemented anti-pandemic measures including taking the temperature of staff upon their arrival at work and spraying disinfectant on work stations, criticism has persisted of cleanliness in warehouses, and working conditions.

Coronavirus response

Amazon in its blog post revealed it is currently conducting thousands of Coronavirus tests per day, and aims to be able to do 50,000 tests a day across 650 sites by November.

“We’re investing hundreds of millions of dollars in this initiative, but testing is just one of the things we’re doing to keep our front-line employees safe,” it wrote.

It also said it gives staff “comprehensive health insurance from their first day on the job and paid time off to any employee who needs to be quarantined or receive treatment.

Amazon has been on a hiring spree during the pandemic, and in May it announced it was making face shields, which it sells at cost.

It said it has so far distributed 100 million face masks.

It said its cleaning regime includes cleaning across its sites every 90 minutes to sanitise door handles, stairway handrails, lockers, elevator buttons, and touch screens.

Staff infections

But then it revealed how many of its staff have been struck down with Coronavirus.

“Since the beginning of this crisis, we’ve worked hard to keep our employees informed, notifying them of every new case in their building,” it wrote. “We also want to share details and best practices for keeping employees safe with NGOs, governments, and other companies.”

“As part of this commitment, we’ve decided to publicly share the Covid-19 infection rates among Amazon front-line employees – something few if any companies and no other major retailers have done,” it said, before encouraging other firms to follow its example.

“We have done a thorough analysis of data on all 1,372,000 Amazon and Whole Foods Market front-line employees across the US employed at any time from 1 March to 19 September, 2020,” Amazon said.

“…If the rate among Amazon and Whole Foods Market employees were the same as it is for the general population rate, we estimate that we would have seen 33,952 cases among our workforce,” said Amazon. “In reality, 19,816 employees have tested positive or been presumed positive for Covid-19 – 42 percent lower than the expected number.”

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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