Amazon confirms 2 new COVID-19 cases in US logistics network as staff protests continue
Amazon has been criticised for failing to shut its affected facilities after two more staff in the US were confirmed to have contracted the virus.
Last week Amazon revealed that its first US employee had contracted COVID-19 at its delivery station in Queens, New York, and that it had temporarily closed the site for a deep clean while its workers were sent home with full pay.
Now Amazon has confirmed two new cases of coronavirus at its sites in Michigan and Oklahoma but has taken the decision not to close the affected locations in order to continue to meet increased demand.
One worker in Amazon’s sorting centre in Brownstown, Michigan is now in quarantine and receiving medical treatment after testing positive for COVID-19. Amazon confirmed to the Financial Times that “some” of the 300 workers at the centre had been told to self-isolate for 14 days.
Another employee at Amazon’s large warehouse in Oklahoma was confirmed to have contracted the virus on Monday evening, taking the total number of confirmed cases in Amazon’s US logistics network to three.
This comes after four US senators including Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker wrote a letter to Jeff Bezos accusing the retailer of failing to provide sufficient protection for warehouse workers, “putting the whole country at risk”.
Amazon workers in Italy, France and Spain have also continued to hold protests, accusing the retail giant of lax practices in order to protect them from contagion.
Amazon said it was “supporting the individual who is recovering” in Michigan and was “following all guidelines from local officials and taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site”.
These measures reportedly included regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces while making changes processes to prevent employees gathering in confined spaces.