Amazon’s actions to help employees, communities, and customers affected by COVID-19
1. What we are doing for employees
- We give a special one-time Thank You bonus totaling over $500 million, to all front-line employees and partners who were with the company throughout the month of June. Details here.
- We have opened 15,000 new full and part-time positions and delivery driver opportunities across the UK in our fulfilment centres and logistics network. Find out more about some of our new hires.
- Our top concern is ensuring the health and safety of our employees, and we expect to invest approximately $4 billion globally from April to June on COVID-related initiatives getting products to customers and keeping employees safe. This includes spending more than $800 million in the first half of the year on COVID-19 safety measures. Read more here.
- We increased sick pay for Amazon employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine.
- Amazon employees receive comprehensive health benefits starting on day one of employment.
- We have established the Amazon Relief Fund with a $25 million initial contribution focused on supporting our independent delivery service partners and their drivers, Amazon Flex participants, and seasonal employees.
- Amazon published its annual letter to shareholders from Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO. Read the letter here.
- We said: Thank you, Amazon teams in a video that addresses employees on the floor, and on the road.
2. What we are doing for our customers
- We’re giving our customers more time to return items.
- We have made Amazon video, music and more available for free to customers.
- We’re working vigorously to combat price gouging to keep prices fair and protect our customers from those looking to exploit the current crisis.
- We are continuing with ongoing, enhanced cleaning in our physical stores.
- We are encouraging contactless delivery to keep our customers safe.
- We have adjusted grocery store hours to help the most vulnerable.
3. What we are doing for communities
- In Europe, we have committed €21 million to support those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- We are providing disadvantaged students with online STEM courses.
- We’re supporting virtual classrooms with no-cost resources from AWS and Amazon Future Engineer.
- We are providing free content to customers such as books, music and video available on Amazon devices.
- We’re helping writers by contributing to the Society of Authors’ emergency fund. To help independent bookshops, we’re contributing to the Book Trade Charity’s relief fund.
- We’re delivering three quarters of a million healthy breakfasts to families around the UK, thanks to an expanded partnership between Magic Breakfast and Amazon.
4. What we are doing to assist the UK Government and public health organisations
- We are using our logistics network to support the UK Government, joining a coalition of companies, universities, and research institutions to boost testing capacity for COVID-19. We are proud to be supporting this initiative, leveraging our logistics network to deliver test kits to homes around the country.
- Amazon Web Services (AWS) has invested $20 million to accelerate diagnostic research and innovation and development to aid with the detection of COVID-19.
- AWS is supporting the Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics on COVID-19 disease modelling work.
- AWS is working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) to accelerate efforts to understand the coronavirus and to better contain its spread.
- AWS helped NHSX - a joint unit between the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement - to launch COVID-19 response platform for critical public services.
- AWS has created a public source for critical COVID-19 data to enable virus research and help accelerate vaccine development.
- As part of the COVID-19 HPC (High Performance Computing) Consortium, AWS is helping to advance research on diagnosis, treatment, and vaccine studies to accelerate our collective understanding of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
- AWS and Amazon are helping the Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Barcelona develop tools to accelerate the search for drugs against COVID-19.
Read more about how AWS is supporting customers in their response to COVID-19 here.
Read more about our overall economic impact in the UK.
Continue checking here for updates about how we are supporting our employees, helping customers, aiding community relief, and furthering research during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thank You bonus for Amazon’s front-line employees and partners
Dave Clark, SVP Worldwide Operations, today announced a special one-time Thank You bonus totaling over $500 million. All front-line employees and partners who were with the company throughout the month of June will receive a bonus. Details here.
Genomics England launches next-generation research platform using AWS
Genomics England, which was initially established to deliver the 100,000 Genomes Project by the Department of Health & Social Care, and is now evolving to become a sustainable government-owned company delivering genomic data services to healthcare professionals and researchers, is using AWS to deliver its next-generation genomics research platform in the fight against COVID-19. The new platform will give researchers access to genomic data collected in relation to COVID-19 so that they can study the virus to better understand it and treat people who are ill. This will include researchers exploring whether there are genetic factors that make people more susceptible to getting COVID-19 and to the efficacy of different treatment options. So for example all the genomics data that was collected as part of the GenOMICC study will be stored on AWS. Read more here
AWS partner helps local authorities in UK deliver faster and more effective social care
An automated service to enable the remote delivery of social care will help local authorities to ensure the safety and wellbeing of shielded and vulnerable people in their communities. PA Consulting, an AWS partner, has built the Wellbeing Automated Contact Service (WACS) in response to the COVID-19 crisis. It has quickly created a solution that automates the wellbeing check and triage of individual’s needs via a simple phone call. It is being used by a number of local authorities, including Hampshire County Council, which has been able to provide support to vulnerable people 12 times faster than usual, while reducing the number of staff calls to individuals who require support by 92%. This has freed up the council’s contact centre officers to focus on the 10% of individuals on the shielded list who require immediate additional support. WACS assesses if an individual needs to be put in touch with the relevant council professional to discuss their specific needs in detail, or if the individual is feeling lonely, they will be scheduled to have regular calls with a volunteer. If the individual doesn’t require either of these services, the tool will offer to automate and schedule a regular check-in with them on a weekly basis, in line with government guidance.
Amazon releases video to highlight COVID-19 actions to support employees, customers and communities
A new short film shows how Amazon is continuing to deliver for its customers while ensuring the safety of its people. It highlights how Amazon is leveraging its logistics network in support of the NHS and other essential workers, as well as providing technology platforms to enable collaboration around virus research and acceleration of vaccine development. It also includes a reference to other priorities such as continuing to make progress on The Climate Pledge.
Watch the full video above.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) powers new effort from Airbnb to keep people connected
With Airbnb suspending in-person Experiences in light of COVID‑19, the company looked for ways to help its hosts continue to generate income, while also allowing guests to learn a new skill, safely connect with others, or pursue interests. The company leveraged AWS to create Airbnb Online Experiences, offering an array of activities like meditation with Buddhist monks, family-oriented magic lessons, and team-bonding activities like making coffee with a professional coffee taster. Airbnb has also partnered with local organizations around the world to develop Experiences to help those in isolation, such as older adults, learn a new skill free of charge.
A welcome opportunity: meet Amazon's new hires
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives of people across the country and left them without regular sources of income. Here at Amazon, people have turned to us to provide essential products and services during this period and we in turn are bringing more people into our teams to meet the demand. People from all sorts of backgrounds and roles, who are looking for alternative sources of income. Meet a handful of the amazing new people we have welcomed to our team in the last few months, from deep sea divers to Team GB athletes.
AWS supports International Organization for Migration efforts to help migrants stay safe during pandemic
We are supplying the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with advanced cloud technologies and technical expertise to accelerate its efforts to help migrants around the world stay safe during the COVID-19 crisis. We are developing a machine learning tool to help the IOM collect and analyse high volumes of COVID-19-related content from around the globe, to provide up-to-date information on border and travel restrictions. We are also helping IOM proactively respond to the increasing volume of requests from migrants for information and help, enhancing a new website by integrating it with a multi-lingual cloud call-centre and chatbot.
AWS helps the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs respond to COVID-19
We are supplying the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) with advanced cloud technologies and technical expertise to accelerate the humanitarian response to the COVID-19 crisis. UN OCHA manages the Humanitarian Data Exchange, which makes essential statistical data openly available to citizens and organisations working to support vulnerable populations during humanitarian crises. It includes vital data sets that are helping inform the humanitarian response to the coronavirus, ranging from those on the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, to testing, travel restrictions and school closures. One challenge faced by UN OCHA is that the humanitarian community shares data in a wide array of formats that are time consuming to gather, clean, and standardize. We are helping UN OCHA develop a service that aggregates trustworthy data from data providers around the world, converts it into standard formats in real time, and makes it available in an open data lake. This will ultimately enable UN OCHA in scaling the use of analytics to respond more effectively to future crises, by making the humanitarian response faster and more data-driven.
AWS enables Comic Relief to take hundreds of donations a second during UK fundraising event
UK-based charities Comic Relief, and BBC Children in Need, worked with broadcaster BBC One to host ‘The Big Night In’ on Thursday 23rd April, to raise money for vulnerable people in the country who are being severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The special night of comedy, music, and live entertainment, was also designed to pay tribute to all the unsung heroes going the extra mile to support their communities. The event was underpinned by Comic Relief’s existing website, donation system, and business analytics, which run on AWS. Using AWS allows Comic Relief to scale up its applications when the number of people making donations rapidly increases, enabling it to transact up to 350 donations per second. Over the course of the three-hour event, more than 700,000 donations were received, raising more than £27.4m – a total the UK government has promised to double. AWS gave Comic Relief credits to cover the cost of additional services used during the event, as well as providing remote technical support.
New global platform to thank healthcare workers built on AWS
Workhuman has launched Thank You Healthcare, a global space for people to thank healthcare workers, and share stories of humanity from around the world during this time of crisis. The application, which was built entirely on AWS in just a few days, aims to give people the opportunity to express their gratitude, while showing healthcare workers just how important they are. More than five million moments of gratitude have already been shared since the application was launched. Workhuman is the world’s fastest-growing social recognition and continuous development management platform, which helps companies to unite their workforce around a shared purpose
Three quarters of a million healthy breakfasts are set for delivery to doorsteps of thousands of children across the UK
Thanks to an expanded partnership between Magic Breakfast and Amazon. Breakfast packs containing food supplies from Arla, Heinz, Kellogg's, Morrisons, New York Bakery Co and Quaker Oats UK will be delivered for free directly to children’s homes. The children receiving these meals can normally have a free breakfast at school, provided by Magic Breakfast, to give them the fuel they need for their morning lessons. Since schools closed due to Covid-19, however, the charity has adapted its delivery model, with help from Amazon, to ensure that children from its partner schools can continue to enjoy their Magic Breakfast at home. Read more here
Patient monitoring platform running on AWS enables hospitals in UK and US to increase bed capacity
Current Health is enabling hospitals and temporary care facilities in the UK and US to increase bed capacity via its vital signs patient monitoring device and platform, which runs on AWS. Clinicians can continuously monitor patients who are at risk of deteriorating via a single medical device, worn on their arm. The device measures, collects, and transmits vital signs data in real time to a tablet integrated with Current Health’s software, enabling symptom triaging (for example - should the patient be moved to a hospital?) and video consultations with clinicians. Through the monitoring device and software, Current Health can alert doctors and nurses early so that they can take action, potentially saving the patient's life, improving outcomes, and allowing them to return home sooner. The platform is being used in the UK and the US by more than 40 hospitals and care facilities, from NHS Trusts to the Mayo Clinic, and 1,000 care professionals. You can find out more here.
HealthUnlocked builds new online community on AWS to support people in isolation
HealthUnlocked - the world's largest social network for health - has created a new online community to provide peer-to-peer support to people who are self-isolating during the pandemic. The Positive Wellbeing During Self-Isolation community is a space for people, especially more vulnerable senior members of society, to connect with others and find companionship during these times of uncertainty. HealthUnlocked runs entirely on AWS, and uses a wide range of AWS services, such as machine learning to power recommendations on its website.
Our new online community is a space for people to connect with others and find companionship during these times of uncertainty across the globe. https://t.co/ORak7nmpYY#covid19 #coronavirusupdates #coronavirus #UnlockYourHealth #wellbeing #FridayMotivation— HealthUnlocked (@HealthUnlocked) March 20, 2020
Employee wellbeing platform running on AWS offered free to UK businesses during pandemic
To support UK businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, Tictrac is offering its employee wellbeing solution for free until the end of July. Built on AWS, the Interactive Health Media Platform delivers content on ways to stay mentally and physically healthy, and empower users to take greater control of their wellbeing. The platform is using AWS to scale and grow securely, to meet demand. Tictrac has recently launched a number of new campaigns, which include activity challenges to encourage team-building and improve team spirit when working from home. Since March, more than 16 companies in the UK – ranging in size from 50 to 10,000+ employees – have signed up to the platform.
Amazon Music supports the Music Venue Trust #saveourvenues campaign
Amazon Music has contributed to the Music Venue Trust #saveourvenues crisis fund that was instigated in response to the continued economic threat to over 500 grassroots music venues throughout the UK. Music Venue Trust is a UK registered charity which acts to protect, secure and improve Grassroots Music Venues. Read more here.
Amazon has donated to several charities including Teach First and HomeStart UK
Amazon has donated 1,000 Fire HD 8 devices to Teach First – a charity that works with schools facing the biggest challenges across England and Wales and supports children from particularly disadvantaged backgrounds. Amazon Fire HD tablets will help children who do not have access to devices like tablets or laptops keep up to date with their school work and stay in touch with their teachers. Amazon has also donated 500 Kindle devices to Ark - an organisation that supports schools in disadvantaged areas across the UK – to help students keep up with their reading and revision while access to schools and libraries remain limited during COVID-19. In addition, Amazon has donated 100 Fire HD tablets to HomeStart Southwark to help the charity connect staff and volunteers to vulnerable families as well as a Gift Card donation of £20,000 to Tallaght University Hospital in Dublin, to enhance the technology in patient rooms, Theatre, ICU and nurses’ stations.
Words of gratitude amid the COVID‑19 pandemic
People around the world send messages of thanks to Amazon employees who are shipping and delivering much-needed items during this crisis. “I am high risk and have been very anxious whenever my husband has to go out for weekly shopping. A big thank you to all the people at Amazon helping us through this,” a UK customer wrote.
Providing for customers and protecting employees
In the second quarter of 2020, Amazon expects to invest approximately $4 billion on COVID-related expenses to get products to customers and keeping employees safe. This includes investments in personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning of our facilities, less efficient process paths that better allow for effective social distancing, higher wages for hourly teams, and developing our own COVID-19 testing capabilities. In March and April, we announced hiring plans, and have since hired 175,000 people in our fulfillment and delivery network in response to increased customer demand and to assist existing employees. Read more about our work to keep employees safe.
Updated work-from-home guidance
We continue to prioritise the health of our employees and follow local government guidance. Amazon employees who work in a role that can be done effectively from home are welcome to do so until at least the 2nd of October. We are working hard and investing significant funds to keep those who choose to come to the office safe through physical distancing, deep cleaning, temperature checks, and the availability of face coverings and hand sanitiser.
Amazon Web Services powers a free database for COVID‑19 research and vaccine development
Cerner, a global healthcare technology company, has compiled de-identified patient data to help COVID‑19 researchers and has leveraged AWS to secure and store the critical information. The data will support research, vaccine development, and new treatment options—and it’s available for free, creating an opportunity for organisations to share information and accelerate our understanding of the disease. Get more details.
Amazon invests more than $800 million on COVID-19 safety measures
Through the measures we worked rapidly to implement, we expect to spend more than $800 million in the first half of the year on COVID-19 safety measures. This includes purchasing items like masks, hand sanitiser, thermal cameras, thermometers, sanitising wipes, gloves, and additional hand-washing stations, as well as using disinfectant spraying in buildings, procuring COVID-19 testing supplies, and hiring more janitorial staff. Some specific numbers include:
- Deploying 100 million+ masks
- Adding 2,298 hand-washing stations
- Adding 5,765+ janitorial staffers to our typical teams
- Deploying an additional 34 million gloves
- Adding 48 million ounces of hand sanitiser
- Adding 93 million sanitizing spray bottles and wipes
- Deploying more than 31,000 thermometers and 1,115+ thermal cameras
We’re also spending over $85 million redeploying team members from their typical roles to performing safety related tasks and audits at sites around the world. This includes team members who are “social distancing ambassadors” helping with temperature checks. Read more about how we’re taking care of employees here.
UK start-up uses AWS for unique approach to COVID-19 drug discovery
Peptone is a UK-based startup that uses scientific high performance computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and statistical mathematics techniques to understand, predict and mitigate the reasons behind protein-drug ‘failures’ in the early drug discovery phase. Recently, the company started working with companies who are developing novel protein-based drugs against the novel coronavirus. Peptone uses the AWS Cloud to execute millions of simulations to help identify the most appropriate proteins for successful drug and vaccine development in the fight against COVID-19. The simulations are analysed using artificial intelligence, which builds hypotheses about why and how protein molecules are going to fail. As a result, Peptone’s platform can identify what to do in order to avoid these failures and successfully design molecules which have a high chance to enter clinical trials. The platform reduces the time it usually takes to design so-called ‘human monoclonal antibodies’ - man-made proteins which act like human antibodies in the immune system - from around 1.5 years, to just under 10 days.
Mental health platform running on AWS gives 1.5 million NHS employees free access to its services
Unmind is a workplace mental health platform which empowers organisations and employees to measurably improve their mental wellbeing. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Unmind has opened up the platform, which runs entirely on AWS, to give 1.5 million NHS staff members free access to its clinically backed programmes and support for proactively managing mental health. Unmind welcomed 25,000 NHS staff in the first two weeks, and is available anytime, anywhere, and on any device. Unmind worked with The Scale Factory, a member of the AWS Partner Network, to optimise the platform using a wide range of AWS services for its mobile and web application. Unmind has been able to scale quickly and easily, build new products, and manage workloads in a secure and flexible way.
A show of support with rainbows on Amazon buildings
Giant #rainbowsofhope are lighting up Amazon buildings across the country - check out our fulfilment centre in Doncaster last night. Thank you to all of our nation’s key workers. Find out more about what we’re doing to keep our employees safe here:https://t.co/7TswRKp2ae pic.twitter.com/xhCNakevME— AmazonNewsUK (@AmazonNewsUK) April 24, 2020
Discover why rainbows are showing up on windows, buildings, and sidewalks around the world in this story.
Teach First receives 1,000 Fire HD 8 devices from Amazon to support schools
Amazon has donated 1,000 Fire HD 8 devices to Teach First – the charity works with schools facing the biggest challenges across England and Wales and supports children from particularly disadvantaged backgrounds. The Fire HD tablets will help children who do not have access to devices like tablets or laptops keep up to date with their school work and stay in touch with their teachers.
Crop monitoring platform running on AWS helps to ensure UK food security during pandemic
Mantle Labs, a leading agri-tech startup, is working with the Agri-EPI Centre to offer a cutting-edge crop monitoring solution for UK food security during the coronavirus pandemic. Mantle Labs is offering its unique ‘Geobotanics’ platform, which runs on AWS, to retailers and others involved in the supply chain, free-of-charge, for a period of three months.The AI-based platform mixes imagery from multiple satellites to assess current agricultural conditions and provides early warning of potential supply issues. Running on AWS enables Mantle Labs to scale its platform quickly and easily to analyse very large volumes of high resolution crop satellite imagery across large surface areas. By using AWS, Mantle Labs has been able cut the overall time for processing satellite imagery covering an entire continent from a week to less than a few hours.
AWS partner helps UK councils manage increased calls from residents
In the UK, VoiceFoundry, part of the AWS Partner Network, is using AWS to help local government manage increased call volumes from local residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Two London councils, the London Borough of Hounslow and the London Borough of Waltham Forest, are using Amazon Connect - a scalable, easy to manage, cloud-based contact centre – to allow them to operate a full seven-day-a-week service, and to ensure staff safety by enabling them to work remotely. London Borough of Waltham Forest deployed Amazon Connect in a matter of days and is now able to handle calls from more than 3,000 residents and customers a day, while London Borough of Hounslow has launched a Community Support Hub to help the most at-risk and vulnerable residents in the community to receive up-to-date information, food, and essential supplies during the pandemic. The Hub has made and received thousands of calls to date, a number that is continuing to increase each week.
Nye Health uses AWS to scale its remote consultation platform to cover more than 10 million patients
Nye Health has built a highly scalable desktop and mobile-based NHS-compliant platform that allows all NHS staff in the UK to offer consultations to patients via video or phone call from any device, anywhere. The service, which is free for all NHS GPs, hospital doctors, nurses, physios, and clerical staff to use, has been designed to help reduce the number of patients attending GP surgeries and hospitals in person and also to enable doctors to work remotely where required. It can also help free up capacity during peak periods, triaging patients so that more urgent cases are prioritised for face-to-face appointments. Nye Health is using AWS to scale quickly, easily, and securely, to meet the increased demand from clinicians and patients during the COVID-19 crisis. The platform currently covers more than 10 million patients and is servicing thousands of patient consultations each week.
AWS helps Feedback Medical scale its medical imaging communication platform
Feedback Medical is a specialist medical imaging and technology company that provides an innovative software platform, Bleepa, to improve the sharing and reporting of radiology images. During the COVID-19 crisis, the company is supplying Bleepa to all NHS providers for free. It is already being adopted at sites such as Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust in Manchester. The secure, encrypted imaging-based communication platform combines secure instant messaging with the ability to see clinical grade medical images including X-rays, CT and MRI scans directly from a hospital Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS), using portable devices such as smartphones or tablets. AWS is providing the infrastructure and support to enable Bleepa to quickly, cost effectively, and securely, scale to meet expected demand.
Babylon Health uses AWS to help scale and distribute COVID-19 care assistant to relieve burden on NHS
London-based healthcare technology company Babylon has launched a COVID-19 Care Assistant, designed to enhance the support and advice it can offer patients during the pandemic. Patients can use the service to check their symptoms, track their illness, cope with self-isolation, access information, chat with trained staff, and consult doctors. It is already relieving the burden on NHS clinicians by triaging out and supporting the vast majority of users with mild and low-risk COVID-19 symptoms. The company leverages AI on AWS to provide medical advice via a symptom checker for free on the web or via an app, and offers many other AI-driven services including monitoring, health assessment and virtual consultations. Babylon is using AWS to scale and distribute this service globally, supporting patients in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the US, and Canada.
Amazon hiring for additional 75,000 jobs after bringing on 100,000+ associates in the last four weeks
On March 16, we announced Amazon would invest over $350 million globally to increase pay for our teams during the coronavirus pandemic and would hire an additional 100,000 people in full and part-time jobs across our operations network to keep as many people as possible working during this crisis. Today, we are proud to announce that our original 100,000 jobs pledge is filled and those new employees are working at sites across the U.S. helping to serve customers. We continue to see increased demand as our teams support their communities, and are going to continue to hire, creating an additional 75,000 jobs to help serve customers during this unprecedented time.
Interested candidates can apply at www.amazon.com/jobsnow. We know many people have been economically impacted as jobs in areas like hospitality, restaurants, and travel are lost or furloughed as part of this crisis and we welcome anyone out of work to join us at Amazon until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back. We also continue to invest in pay increases and previously expected to spend $350 million to increase wages during this unprecedented time—we now expect that to be over $500 million. We’ll continue to invest in safety, pay, and benefits for our teams who are playing an invaluable role in getting items to communities around the world, and you can read more about our safety efforts.
Amazon donating $5 million in devices globally
Amazon is teaming up with hospitals, schools, and community organizations around the globe to supply $5 million in Amazon Devices (Kindle, Fire tablets, Echo, Fire TV, and more) to those impacted by COVID-19. The device donations will help a variety of people who need support, including frontline healthcare workers who need to safely communicate remotely with patients as well as kids who need learning resources while schools and libraries are closed. Read more about our ongoing device donations here. Learn more.
We welcome a virtual class of interns for Summer 2020
Amazon interns play a role in building the future for our customers, and this summer, Amazon will host more than 8,000 interns around the world—the company’s largest intern class to date—offering an entirely virtual experience. Along with the virtual curriculum, the internship will include mentorship with tenured Amazonians, moderated group discussions, opportunities to connect with other interns, weekly fireside chats with senior leaders, and a variety of networking events. Tools like Amazon Chime will help interns connect with teammates, mentors, managers, and other interns.
- Amazon Future Engineer will also welcome its class of nearly 100 interns, virtually. These interns represent our first ever Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship recipients and are each receiving $40,000 from Amazon over the course of their four-year undergraduate experience to pursue a computer science degree.
A message from Dave Clark, SVP Amazon World Wide Operations: Thank You Amazon Heroes
Right now, delivering the things people need has never been more important. To all our Amazon teams on the floor, and on the road - thank you.
AWS helping vulnerable members of their community with CoronaFriend
AWS is supporting a new service, set up by a group of tech entrepreneurs in the UK, to connect people who’d like to offer help to vulnerable members of their community, to ensure no one is forgotten during the COVID-19 crisis. CoronaFriend is an easy-to-use platform - set up by founders of start-ups Kamma and Would You Rather Be - which enables volunteers to search for their street and find out whether it has already been marked as leafleted. If not, they can print out readymade leaflets, fill in their contact details, and post them around the neighbourhood to check if people living nearby have access to the help they need. Ordnance Survey of Great Britain is providing mapping and location information, while AWS has provided technical support - enabling the platform and accompanying app to be built, tested, and scaled nationally, in just a few days.
AWS helps Jameel Institute at Imperial College accelerate COVID-19 disease modelling
AWS is helping the Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics (J-IDEA), at Imperial College London accelerate its COVID-19 disease modelling work. Experts at Imperial College London, including the Jameel Institute, provide public health agencies and governments around the globe with real-time estimates to inform the COVID-19 outbreak response, using a combination of machine learning and data science methods.
In order to keep up with the rapid spread of COVID-19, it’s vital for the researchers to investigate data from countries in real time, to understand both its transmission and severity, as well as the impact of different interventions. AWS is helping them to carry out this work even faster, and more efficiently. With our support, the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team can now store more data in the cloud. They can share information and experiment with different methods in ways not previously possible, which is enabling them to accelerate their work. As the team continues to refine their models, the ultimate goal is to help leaders make better-informed decisions and save more lives.
Enabling doctors to continue their consultations safely, Care Connect by KRY
To help to slow the spread of COVID-19, and add capacity to healthcare systems, Swedish telehealth start-up KRY has launched a secure, reliable and scalable free platform on AWS for healthcare professionals to conduct video appointments with patients. The new service, Care Connect by KRY is available at no charge to any practicing doctor or healthcare professional in Europe. In the UK and France, where KRY operates as LIVI, the platform is called LIVI Connect. The platform offers a reliable and secure way for doctors to continue their consultations, and for patients to maintain access to vital healthcare services, during the pandemic. Care Connect by KRY is currently available in 10 languages – English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch and Polish – and KRY plans to roll it out worldwide. It is one of several services KRY is developing on AWS to upport healthcare professionals and patients, including a free symptom checker.
Providing teachers and students with free coding courses
As schools and students experience disruption, Amazon Future Engineer is helping to meet their needs by launching a free virtual coding programme – in partnership with FireTech. The virtual coding programme will be available for two months from 3 April to 3 June 2020, with resources catering for students aged 12 to 17.
Amazon donates €21 million to relief organizations across Europe
In Europe, Amazon has committed €21 million to support those who are the most affected by the COVID-19 crisis. We’ve also reached out to, and are helping, our communities around the globe. In China, for example, we leveraged our fulfilment network to donate millions of items—such as medical isolation suits, protective masks, disposable gloves, and other medical supplies—to healthcare professionals in affected cities. We'll share more updates in days to come.
AWS helps NHSX launch COVID-19 response platform for critical public services
We are also helping to provide infrastructure and technology to enable NHSX - a joint unit between the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement - to quickly and securely launch a Covid-19 response platform for critical public services. AWS is providing the underlying infrastructure technology that will enable the NHS to aggregate information from across the NHS and other partner organisations. NHSX are leading this project to provide more accurate visibility on factors including visibility into hospital occupancy levels, emergency room capacity, and patient wait times to inform and coordinate a national response to Covid-19. This information will lead to a better understanding of how the coronavirus is spreading, when and where the healthcare system will face most strain, and which interventions are proving more effective than others in helping to mitigate the crisis - helping the NHS to decide where best to allocate resources.
Amazon employees recommended to work from home
In light of ongoing international COVID-19 developments, we are extending Amazon’s guidance globally, except for mainland China. All corporate office employees who work in a role that can be done from home are recommended to do so through April 24 2020.
Amazon donates £3.2 million to relief organisations
In the UK, Amazon has committed £3.2 million to support those who are most affected by the COVID-19 crisis, which includes a donation to the British Red Cross and a fund to support local organisations such as Mind, Women's Aid, Refuge, and Home-start in communities where our employees live and work. Read more.
Prioritise stocking and delivering items that are a higher priority for our customers
We believe our role serving customers and the community during this time is a critical one. As COVID-19 has spread, we've seen an increase in people shopping online. To serve our customers while also helping to ensure the safety of our associates, we’ve changed our logistics, transportation, supply chain, purchasing, and third-party seller processes to prioritise stocking and delivering items that are a higher priority for our customers. This has resulted in some of our delivery promises being longer than usual.
While Amazon will continue taking orders and shipping items from across our store, customers ordering items they don’t need immediately have the opportunity to help others by selecting shipping options that enable us to consolidate orders and make fewer stops in neighbourhoods throughout the week, and most importantly, serve customers with the most critical needs first.
We’re working vigorously to combat price gouging
Our customers are counting on us like never before. At every level of our company, we’re working to provide the products and services that our customers and communities need as we face a global pandemic. This includes taking a number of important steps to keep prices fair and protect our customers from those looking to exploit the current crisis. Amazon has zero tolerance for price gouging and longstanding policies and systems to prevent this harmful practice. We’re working vigorously to combat price gouging.
Amazon is using its logistics network to support the UK Government
In the UK, we have joined a coalition of companies, universities, and research institutions to boost testing capacity for COVID-19. Our logistics network, along with Royal Mail, will deliver test kits to critical workers and diagnostic sites set up around the UK. National Health Service staff on the frontlines of the pandemic will be among the first to benefit from the increased testing capacity. Find out more
Amazon supports the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund to help musicians
Amazon Music has contributed to the Help Musicians Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund to help alleviate some of the financial pressures that many professional musicians may be facing during the pandemic. Help Musicians is an independent UK charity for professional musicians of all genres, from starting out through to retirement. Find out more.
AWS investment of $20 million to accelerate diagnostic research, innovation
At AWS, one area where we have heard an urgent need is in the research and development of diagnostics, which consist of rapid, accurate detection and testing of COVID-19. Better diagnostics will help accelerate treatment and containment, and in time, shorten the course of this epidemic.
That’s why we are launching the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative — a global program to support customers in the US, Europe, and the rest of the world, who are working to bring better, more accurate, diagnostics solutions to market faster, and promote better collaboration across organisations that are working on similar problems.
As part of this, we are committing an initial investment of $20 million to accelerate diagnostic research, innovation, and development to speed our collective understanding and detection of COVID-19 and other innovate diagnostic solutions to mitigate future infectious disease outbreaks. Read more.
Adjusting grocery store hours to help the most vulnerable
Whole Foods Market is temporarily adjusting store hours to accommodate those identified as among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, according to health authorities. Customers who are aged 70 and over in the UK, and 60 and over in the U.S. and Canada, are invited to shop beginning one hour before the store opens to the general public under the store’s new adjusted hours (for example: if a store’s new hours are 09:00 – 20:00, customers who are age 70 and over can shop starting at 08:00). We are setting aside this time to help these customers feel more comfortable shopping our stores and to help ensure they are able to get the items they need in a less crowded environment.
Ongoing, enhanced cleaning in our physical stores
To protect customers shopping in our physical retail stores, we’ve enhanced our daily cleaning procedures and are implementing additional nightly cleaning. We continue to educate employees on official guidance for maintaining healthy habits, and are offering flexibility for employees who need to stay home, plus paid time off for those who are diagnosed with the virus.
Customers can select unattended delivery options
For Prime Now deliveries, we’ve made some changes to minimise contact between our delivery partners and customers. Once a driver knocks on the door or rings the doorbell, they will leave the order on the doorstep and then step back while they wait for customers to collect.
AWS is collaborating with public health organisations, government agencies, and businesses around the globe
AWS is collaborating with public health organisations, government agencies, and businesses around the globe to support their efforts resulting from the ripple effect of COVID-19. This includes providing customers in the most affected regions with technical support and AWS credits that help cover costs, while enabling organisations to quickly stand up and scale their tools and infrastructure to keep businesses running, and speed COVID-19 research projects. More details to be shared in coming days.
AWS also provides services for many healthcare and life sciences companies that are working on research, diagnosis, treatment, and vaccine study to accelerate our collective understanding of COVID-19.
A message from our CEO and founder
Jeff Bezos sent the following email to all Amazon employees: “This isn’t business as usual, and it’s a time of great stress and uncertainty. It’s also a moment in time when the work we’re doing is its most critical. We’ve changed our logistics, transportation, supply chain, purchasing, and third party seller processes to prioritize stocking and delivering essential items like household staples, sanitizers, baby formula, and medical supplies. We’re playing an essential role for people everywhere, especially to those, like the elderly, who are most vulnerable. People are depending on us.” Read the full email.
Increasing pay for employees playing essential roles
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Amazon and our network of partners are helping communities around the world in a way that very few can — delivering critical supplies directly to the doorsteps of people who need them. We want to recognise our employees who are playing an essential role for people at a time when many of the services that might normally be there to support them are closed. To recognise the contribution our employees in the UK are making, we will be adding an additional £2 per hour worked from now through to the end of April. This is on top of our current starting rate of £10.50 for the London area, and £9.50 for the rest of the UK.
Hiring people to help meet demand and support existing employees
We have opened 15,000 new full and part-time positions and delivery driver opportunities across the UK in our fulfillment centres and logistics network to meet the surge in demand from people using Amazon’s service during this time. We know many people have been economically impacted as jobs in areas like hospitality, restaurants, and travel are lost as part of this crisis. We want those people to know we welcome them on our teams until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back.
Supporting employees affected by COVID with paid time off
The health of our people is our top priority, and it’s important to us that they remain home if they’re sick or if they or someone in their home has had a fever in the last 24 hours. To support our people during this time we have increased entitlement to paid time off and are enabling people to take leaves of absence as appropriate. As demand continues to increase, we are working to ensure we can continue to deliver to the most impacted customers while keeping our people safe. All Amazon employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine will receive up to two weeks of pay. This additional pay while away from work is to ensure employees have the time they need to return to good health without the worry of lost income. This is in addition to unlimited unpaid time off for all hourly employees through the end of April. Read more about how Amazon prioritises health and safety while fulfilling customer orders here.
Establishing the $25 million Amazon Relief Fund
We are establishing the Amazon Relief Fund, with a $25 million initial contribution, focused on supporting our independent delivery service partners and their drivers, Amazon Flex participants, and seasonal employees under financial distress during this challenging time. We will be offering all of these groups the ability to apply for grants approximately equal to up to two weeks of pay if diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine. Going forward, this fund will support our employees and contractors around the world who face financial hardships from other qualifying events, such as a natural disaster, a federally declared emergency, or an unforeseen personal hardship. Applicants may apply and receive a personal grant from the fund ranging from $400 to $5,000 per person.
We paused our fulfilment centre public tours programme, cancelled large events, and changed the majority of our job interviews to virtual interviews rather than in-person interviews, which often require travel. At the same time, we increased our cleaning of all facilities globally, including regular sanitisation of all door handles, stairway handrails, lift buttons, lockers, and touch screens.
AWS and World Health Organization (WHO)
At a global level, we are working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) to accelerate the effort to track the virus, understand its outbreak, and to better contain its spread. AWS is supplying WHO with advanced cloud technologies and supporting them with technical expertise. This ranges from building vast "data lakes" aggregating epidemiological country data, to rapidly translating medical training videos into different languages and helping global healthcare workers to better treat patients.
Providing disadvantaged students with online STEM courses
We will also provide free online STEM resources to students in lower-income communities to enable learning to continue during school closures, and we are working with our existing charity partner Magic Breakfast to ensure they can continue to provide free breakfast provision to children in disadvantaged areas.
Stay up to date and get the latest information about Amazon’s response to COVID-19 by bookmarking this page, and by following @AmazonNewsUK on Twitter.