Coronavirus outbreak at Amazon warehouse confirmed days after Prime Day event

Amazon confirmed 10 workers caught Covid-19 but all were asymptomatic and are now self-isolating. It comes after a union warned there could be a ‘hive of infection’ from Prime Day.

A total of 10 members of staff at an Amazon warehouse have tested positive for coronavirus after a union warned there could be a “hive of infection”.

The outbreak was confirmed at the site in Coventry following the company’s Prime Day event, which offers customers big discounts on products.

The global firm has carried out its own testing at the facility on Lyons Park in Coventry, and the 10 staff members, who had all been asymptomatic, are now self-isolating, CoventryLive reports.

But the GMB Union criticised Amazon’s Prime Day sale, claiming the company was “cutting corners and ignoring social distancing rules” at its warehouses, and “their recklessness could turn Prime Day into a hive of infection”.

Amanda Gearing, Senior GMB Organiser, said: “If Amazon doesn’t want to be responsible for the further spread of this deadly virus, it needs to stop flooding facilities with agency workers to maximise profits, enforce social distancing rules and send anyone home on full pay who may be infected until either the 14 days is over or they test negative.”

Measures in place at the Coventry depot include anyone entering the site – whether an employee or visitor – having their temperature checked upon arrival.

A spokesman for Amazon said: “Safety is our top priority at Amazon and we make sure safety is front of mind on Prime Day, just as it is during every day of our business.

“Since March, we’ve implemented an additional 150 significant process changes including the provision of masks and additional cleaning to ensure the health and safety of our teams.

We’ve already spent more than $800m (£620m) on Covid-19 safety measures, with investments in personal protective equipment (PPE), enhanced cleaning of our facilities, new process paths that allow for effective social distancing, and developing our own Covid-19 testing capabilities.

“We firmly believe that if every person, including people with no symptoms, could be tested regularly, it would make a huge difference in how we are all fighting this virus.

“As a next step in the UK, we have started a pilot at a number of sites for testing employees on a voluntary basis, and we’ve received positive feedback from employees participating.

“We have also built our own lab in Manchester, which will provide supplemental testing capacity to what the government is already offering. We don’t yet know exactly how it’s going to shape up, but we continue to believe it’s worth trying.

“These are the actions of a company taking responsibility for the safety of its employees.”

This year’s Prime Day sale ran for 48 hours, but drew criticism from UK campaign group Ethical Consumer, who urged shoppers to buy locally.

Tim Hunt, director at Ethical Consumer, said: “Aside from tax avoidance, Amazon has a dubious track record on many issues including workers’ rights and the environment. We urge consumers to think about whether they really need to make that purchase on Amazon Prime Day and instead how they can use their money in way that benefits society and the environment.