NHS to use Amazon and Boots to help fast-track coronavirus test kits

Tom McArthur
Page editor
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 28: A single use personal protection mask seen abandoned as rubbish on a street floor floor on March 28, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Ollie Millington/Getty Images)

Amazon (AMZN) confirmed that it will use its logistic network to help the National Health Service (NHS) distribute home-testing kits for the coronavirus.

Alongside other retailers, life science companies and universities, the UK government has asked Amazon to help fast-track the testing process for the general population.

The online retail giant Amazon said in a statement on its website, “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).”

It then linked out to an official release related to the UK government’s “new drive on coronavirus tests for frontline NHS staff,” suggesting that its partnership with the NHS will mainly concentrate getting those tests to health professionals, rather than the general public.

“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,” it added in the statement.

“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.”

READ MORE: NHS teams up with tech giants in coronavirus campaign

There are now 17,089 confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK. On 28 March, a jump of 260 deaths were announced, bringing the total number of people who have died from Covid-19 in Britain to 1,019.

On 25 March, there were media reports citing the Public Health England (PHE) that home-testing kits for coronavirus, would likely to be also available from Boots pharmacies or via Amazon by the end of the month.

The reports said that the UK government was ordering millions of tests, after already allegedly buying 3.5 million.

At the daily government press conference on the same day, Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England and chief medical adviser to the UK government, said “the key thing for us to do is evaluate – are these tests accurate enough to be used by the general public?

“If they are incredibly accurate, we will work out the quickest way to release them. If they are not accurate, we will not release any of them.”

He added, “I do not think, and I want to be clear, that this is something we’ll suddenly be ordering on the internet next week.”