Thousands of Amazon workers falsely told they tested positive for COVID

Nearly 4,000 employees initially were told to self-isolate.

February 16, 2021, 5:09 PM

Thousands of Amazon employees in the U.K. were told to self-isolate after COVID-19 tests initially came back positive -- but it turned out to be a false alarm.

A spokesperson for the U.K. Department of Health and Social Care told ABC News that on Feb. 13 some 3,853 Amazon employees were told they had tested positive, only to have the department later that evening say they'd actually tested negative.

"Working closely with Amazon, NHS Test and Trace rapidly notified affected employees to let them know they did not need to isolate," the spokesperson said in a statement.

PHOTO: An employee places a package into a box at an Inc. fulfillment center in Kegworth, U.K., Oct. 12, 2020.
An employee places a package into a box at an Inc. fulfillment center in Kegworth, U.K., Oct. 12, 2020.
Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Amazon did not specify where in the U.K. the affected employees worked or what their roles are.

The e-commerce giant has a workplace testing program, rolled out last fall, that uses PCR testing. The company has reported positive cases to Public Health England on a daily basis, and the agency manages transfers that data to the National Health Service Test and Trace.

"We've communicated with our associates and partners to support them with the appropriate action steps, as instructed by the NHS," Amazon said in a statement.

The U.K. is battling its own variant of the coronavirus that health experts have said is more contagious and spreading to other parts of the world. Health data from the British government, however, indicates that COVID-19 cases and deaths have been on a decline.

There were 86,321 new cases reported in the country over the last seven days, a nearly 28% drop from the previous week, according to the data. There were 4,345 deaths reported in the last week, a 25% drop from the previous week, the British government said.

As of Monday night, 15,576,107 residents had received their first vaccine shot, according to health data.

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