E-tail giant Amazon is ramping up tests to its fulfillment center workers in the US for Covid-19 in a pilot project following several high profile outbreaks at its warehouses.
The move would require Amazon to roll out millions of tests throughout the summer. According to reports, company’s plans is to test the bulk of the company’s warehouse workers every two weeks. Workers would test themselves with nasal swabs, using a video for guidance, with a clinical professional supervising.
Amazon spokesperson Timothy Carter told FOX Business on Tuesday that the eCommerce giant has made more than 150 “significant process changes” at its facilities.
“A next step might be regular testing of our employees, and we’ve started our first small-scale pilot. We don’t know exactly yet how it’s going to shape up, but we continue to believe it’s worth trying,” Carter was quoted as saying.
Amid the call to shut its warehouses and protect front-line employees from the COVID-19 disease, Amazon recently announced to build its own coronavirus testing lab and test more employees at its warehouses and other facilities.
According to the company, a team of Amazonians with a variety of skills from research scientists and programme managers to procurement specialists and software engineers have moved from their normal day jobs onto a dedicated team to work on this initiative.
Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos late last month rebutted claims about Covid-19 health concerns at the warehouses, saying the ecommerce giant has taken this seriously from the very beginning.
“I am deeply grateful for each of you for the important work you are doing for customers,” Bezos said.
At least eight Amazon warehouse worker in the US to have lost their lives due to complications from Covid-19, although the e-commerce giant has not disclosed the exact numbers.
Amazon has already ramped up it’s testing of warehouse workers following outbreaks of Covid-19 in New York, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Oregon, among other states.
By ramping up Covid-19 testing, it is hoping to stem the spread of the virus before it gets out of control. The company previously said it would invest its expected Q2 profit of $4 billion into its Covid-19 response, and will spend $1 billion on testing throughout the year, accrding to a CNBC report.
In addition to collecting nasal swabs, the company is planning to develop standalone diagnostic labs in several sites, starting off in Sunnyvale, California, and in Kentucky, the people said. These labs would analyze some of the samples to see if they’re positive or negative. Medical diagnostics has long been an area of interest for Amazon.