The Government of the United Kingdom is using Amazon and Boots to help the National Health Service to distribute home-testing kits for the Coronavirus.
Amazon released a statement on its website explaining its part in the upcoming scheme.
“The Government has asked Amazon to partner with them – alongside other retailers, life science companies and academic institutions – to aid in the fast-track of testing for the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
We are using our logistics network to support the NHS with their plans. Further details will be set out by the Government in due course and we will update this page with more information as soon as it becomes available.
We believe our role serving customers and the community during this time is a critical one, and we are committed to working closely with the Government to identify ways in which we can support efforts to respond to the crisis.”
The Government website goes on to say that they are working with industry, philanthropy and universities to “significantly” scale up the testing apparatus available.
As well as Amazon and Boots, the government is working with Royal Mail, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Random to make sure that frontline NHS staff are able to get tests.
The government is working with dozens of different universities, research facilities and companies from across Britain, who are lending their testing equipment to new laboratories which will be set up across the country.
This marks a significant upgrade to the extent of the testing facilities the Government are providing.
“All current coronavirus testing and research will continue, including at local NHS and Public Health England test laboratories, [as] this new programme will add significant new capacity,” a statement from Department of Health and Social Care confirmed.
Thermo Fisher Scientific and Randox make the equipment, and are providing “extensive” logistical and technical support to the government, whilst Amazon will help with infrastructure.
The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said:
“We want to save lives, protect the most vulnerable, and relieve pressure on our NHS.
Healthcare staff are key in our fight against the virus and I want to ensure that any frontline NHS or care worker who has symptoms of coronavirus or who has a family member with symptoms can be tested quickly and reliably.
I pay tribute to the generosity and public spirit of Britain’s universities, research institutes and companies who have lent us their equipment without hesitation.”
Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon, said:
“We believe our role serving customers and the community during this time is a critical one, and we are committed to working closely with the Government to identify ways in which we can support efforts to respond to the crisis.”
The Government has still not concluded that the tests coming from these efforts will be reliable, but if they are, it could be a “game-changing” moment in the fight against the disease.
Featured image credit: NHS/Amazon