U.S.-based e-commerce giant Amazon announced the opening of 100,000 new positions to meet the surge in demand amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. "We are opening 100,000 new full and part-time positions across the U.S. in our fulfillment centers and delivery network to meet the surge in demand from people relying on Amazon’s service during this stressful time, particularly those most vulnerable to being out in public," Senior Vice President (SVP), Operations Dave Clark said Monday in a statement.
Underlining the importance of delivering critical supplies directly to costumers as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and communities practice social distancing, Clark said there was a significant rise in demand, increasing Amazon's labor needs to levels "unprecedented for this time of year."
"We also 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," he added, he saying: "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."
He also announced that in addition to the 100,000 new roles, Amazon would invest over $350 million across the U.S., Europe and Canada to increase its employees' hourly wages.
"In the U.S., we will be adding an additional $2 USD per hour worked through April from our current rate of $15/hour or more, depending on the region, £2 [$2.44] per hour in the UK, and approximately €2 [$2.23] per hour in many EU countries," Clark said.
He added that Amazon saw health and safety as a top priority and was taking all recommended precautions recommended by experts to protect its workers from the virus.
The COVID-19 disease has killed over 7,000 people across the globe -- 3,000 in China alone where the new virus originated last December.
In the U.S., the death toll from novel coronavirus has climbed to 85, with total confirmed cases over 4,600, according to Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.
The virus has spread to another 182,500 people in over 150 countries and territories.