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Amazon suspends non-essential shipments

Amazon has limited its third-party fulfilment service to essential items following an online surge due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amazon.com Inc will only receive vital supplies at its US and UK and other European warehouses until April 5.

The global American multinational technology company said as COVID-19 has spread, the company has recently seen an increase in people shopping online “which has had an impact on how we serve our customers”.

In the short term, household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products coming into its fulfillment centers will be temporarily prioritised so Amazon employees can quickly receive, restock and ship these products to customers.

Amazon defined several categories as essential products that can continue shipping, including baby products; health and household items; beauty and personal care; grocery; industrial and scientific; and pet supplies.

The change does not mean that Amazon will stop selling non-essential items.

Amazon said the new protocol applies to both first-party vendors and third-party sellers.

“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 choosing No-Rush Shipping when this ship option is available,” the company said in an update to sellers on Tuesday 17 March.

“We’re also working to ensure that no one artificially raises prices on basic need products during this pandemic and have blocked or removed tens of thousands of items.”

The measures will last until 5 April 2020, with shipments that had been created before the announcement going ahead as normal.

Amazon announced on Monday that it is planning to hire 100,000 additional workers to support the unprecedented demand.

SBS News said they contacted Amazon to see if the changes will impact consumers in Australia.

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