With the first move toward a system of checks on workers around the world, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said the eCommerce retailer is creating COVID-19 testing capabilities. The news surfaced in an annual letter to shareholders that was cited in a Bloomberg report.
"Regular testing on a global scale, across all industries, would both help keep people safe and help get the economy back up and running," Bezos said in the letter. "For this to work, we as a society would need vastly more testing capacity than is currently available.”
The executive also noted other measures the eCommerce retailer has made to stop the coronavirus, such as reworking processes at Whole Foods and closing nonessential services like Amazon Books. The next measure would be regular testing for all workers, he said, even those who don’t exhibit symptoms.
Bezos said his firm had put together a team made up of software engineers, scientists and managers to enable internal testing capability. The aim is to create the inaugural testing lab soon. The retailer is also at work maintaining its online shopping operations.
The executive also reportedly reiterated previous announcements that the company has given out face masks and enacted temperature checks at buildings globally.
In separate news from earlier this week, new customers of Amazon grocery delivery will be sent to a waitlist. Also, hours at some brick-and-mortar Whole Foods locations have been curtailed to allow for cleaning and restocking, while others are now focusing only on filling eCommerce grocery orders as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates demand.
Stephenie Landry, vice president of grocery at Amazon, wrote in a blog post, "In the coming weeks, we will launch a new feature allowing customers to secure time to shop. This feature will give delivery customers a virtual 'place in line' and will allow us to distribute the delivery windows on a first-come, first-served basis. Simultaneously, we will continue to add capacity as swiftly as possible."