The FT reports that the Government have approached Amazon and other logistics companies to ask for assistance in delivery Coronavirus tests.
Normally it would be unthinkable for Government to approach the likes of Amazon to perform a public health service function like this, but these are unprecedented times and Amazon have already been clearing their operations, dumping services for small businesses by suspending incoming FBA shipments for all but essential supplies and now in France and Italy quarantining stock already in FBA and only selling and shipping essential supplies belonging to merchants. There rational is that the mother with a new born baby needs nappies and baby formula much more than you or I need a new swing ball set for the garden while the kids are off school.
If Amazon clear the decks to deliver essential supplies then, just as supermarkets are co-operating on supplying the nation with food with councils and the Forces slated to assist, Amazon should become at least partly accountable to the government to ensure the Coronavirus tests are prioritised.
The World Health Organization has suggested that the widespread use of Coronavirus tests is essential to stop the spread of disease – if you don’t know who’s got it you don’t know who is safe to go to work or support the sick, elderly and vulnerable. Additionally once a test is available to tell you if you’ve already had the Coronavirus you’ll know that if you are recovered your probably safe to go back to work whereas if you haven’t been infected you need to take precautions.
In the mean time, if Amazon are potentially going to ramp up delivery and then collection of millions of tests across the UK and then delivery the results to National Health England the the patient, this should be another alarm bell for your business. If you rely on Amazon FBA to deliver your products, start making immediate arrangements for alternative fulfilment services or ramp up your warehouse to prepare to fulfil yourself. The earliest date you can replenish stock in FBA is the 5th of April, but if Amazon freeze stock already in their warehouses freeing up capability to deliver and collect Coronavirus test then servicing the needs of small business desperate to keep the cash flow rolling will be the least of their priorities.