Covid outbreak closes Amazon Canada warehouse

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Canadian authorities on Friday ordered an Amazon warehouse to close and for its 5,000 employees to self-isolate after a COVID-19 outbreak.

Public officials said workers at the tech giant's Brampton facility north of Toronto were required to "to self-isolate for two weeks effective 12:01 a.m. March 13, 2021."

"Over the past few weeks, the rate of COVID-19 infection across (the region) has been decreasing while the rate inside this facility has been increasing significantly," said a statement from health officials for the regional municipality of Peel.

Only workers who had tested positive in the last 90 days and already completed their isolation were exempt from the quarantine order.

The "difficult decision" to shutter the massive warehouse, said medical officer of health Lawrence Loh, was "a necessary one to stop further spread both in the facility and across our community."

A spokesperson for the regional public health authority told AFP more than 600 workers at the warehouse had tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, including about 240 in recent weeks.

Amazon did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Toronto area warehouses have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19 outbreaks, according to reports, which led to an inspection blitz last month.

It found that 43 percent of the 208 warehouses visited were not compliant with health and safety requirements.

Canada's Ontario province has been hammered by the pandemic, recording as of Friday almost 315,000 COVID-19 infections, including more than 7,100 deaths.

In total Canada has surpassed 900,000 cases and 22,000 deaths.

© 2021 AFP

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