Concerns Rise Over An Amazon Employee In Seattle Testing Positive For Coronavirus

According to reports citing an internal message sent by Amazon, one of the e-commerce company’s employee in Seattle was found to have tested positive for the coronavirus infection.

According to a message sent by the Amazon Human Resources that was sent to most Amazon employees in the area and one that has been reportedly seen by the media, after calling in sick on 25th February and going back home from work, the employee has not returned to work and the offices of the company since then. Authorities have put the employee in quarantine as of now.

The company message also said that it had notified all those employees who had come in close contact with the infected employee who used to work in the Brazil building of the company which is close to the company’s giant greenhouse domes in downtown Seattle called the Amazon Spheres. Close contact, according to the company, was “closer than 6ft or 2 meters over a prolonged period of time”.

A coronavirus outbreak in the office complex of Amazon could have a very significant impact on the company because more than 45,000 employees work at Amazon’s Seattle facility.

The state of Washington is currently at the epicenter of virus incidents that have been reported in the United States which has now risen to 27 confirmed cases of coronavirus by Tuesday afternoon and a total of nine deaths. King county, which includes Seattle, is the place from where most of the cases have been reported.

Typically, there are mild symptoms when a person is infected by coronavirus while the symptoms could be more severe for those who are at a higher risk which includes older people and those who have chronic illness. According to medical authorities, the virus primarily spread through coughs or sneezes.

“The risk of transmission for employees who were not in close contact with this individual is assessed to be low,” the Amazon note stated as reported in the media.  The company has instructed employees to stay home and seek medical attention if any symptoms of coronavirus is seen in them.

“Your health is our top priority and we are continuing with enhanced deep cleaning and sanitization in the office,” the note stated.

An internal website of Amazon, which is updated on a regular basis, also carries information about the coronavirus for its employees. The in that website, the company directs employees to talk with their manager and HR about making arrangements to work from home if an employee thinks that he or she was feeling sick and had symptoms of cold or flu and if they are not sure if they have been infected by coronavirus or not. The company instructions on the website also directs such employees not to come to work till such time that they do not have any fever for at least 24 hours.

Last week, the company restricted all forms of non-essential travel for its employees within the United States and abroad, according to reports. There were also reports of two Amazon employees being infected with the virus in Italy during last weekend. The company has said that some of its recruitment would also be done over video instead of face to face interviews to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)

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