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Coronavirus outbreak: Amazon to test all employees; Jeff Bezos says mass testing needed before economy reopens

BusinessToday.In     April 16, 2020

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on Thursday said that widespread testing of coronavirus should be done before the economy restarts functioning. Amazon would soon kickstart testing all of its employees, including those who show no symptoms, Jeff Bezos said in an annual shareholder letter. "We've begun the work of building incremental testing capacity. A team of Amazonians-from research scientists and program managers to procurement specialists and software engineers-moved from their normal day jobs onto a dedicated team to work on this initiative. We have begun assembling the equipment we need to build our first lab and hope to start testing small numbers of our frontline employees soon," Jeff Bezos said.

Amazon is developing coronavirus testing capabilities as a part of a system to conduct regular checks on its employees globally, Jeff Bezos added. "Regular testing on a global scale, across all industries, would both help keep people safe and help get the economy back up and running," Jeff Bezos said. "For this to work, we as a society would need vastly more testing capacity than is currently available," he added.

Also Read: Coronavirus outbreak makes Amazon boss Jeff Bezos $24 billion richer

Amazon has recently hired nearly 200,000 employees to meet a rise in demand for household essentials and other goods owing to rising demand during the coronavirus lockdown. "I am extremely grateful to my fellow Amazonians for all the grit and ingenuity they are showing as we move through this," Jeff Bezos said. "You can count on all of us to look beyond the immediate crisis for insights and lessons and how to apply them going forward," he also said.

Amazon has started assembling the equipment needed to build the first testing lab and it hopes to  start testing small numbers of the frontline employees soon," Jeff Bezos also said. "We are not sure how far we will get in the relevant timeframe, but we think it's worth trying, and we stand ready to share anything we learn," he added.

Also Read: Amazon raises overtime pay for warehouse workers in US

Jeff Bezos also said that Amazon is collaborating with the World Health Organization (WHO) in the fight against coronavirus pandemic. The company is supplying advanced cloud technologies and technical expertise to track the virus, understand the outbreak, and better contain its spread, he added. "WHO is leveraging our cloud to build large-scale data lakes, aggregate epidemiological country data, rapidly translate medical training videos into different languages, and help global healthcare workers better treat patients," Jeff Bezos further said.

Meanwhile, the world's richest man now has a fortune of $138 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Amazon has benefited from rising internet shopping by people forced to stay home during the coronavirus outbreak.

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