Amazon says as part of its attempts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus

It has temporarily stopped placing orders on such non-essential products on its sites in France (amazon.fr) and Italy (amazon.it).

“When customers use e-commerce to help their social distancing activities, we too have incorporated social distancing guidelines within our fulfilment centres to keep our workers secure and healthy,” an Amazon spokesperson said.  However, Customers can still buy many of these items from third-party vendors that will ship to customers directly; the spokesperson added, relevant products including hygiene items and food.

Amazon said these steps would allow “fulfilment centre associates to focus on receiving and shipping the products customers need most at this time.”

A Saturday message on Amazon.it says: “We prioritize the most requested products and some things might be temporarily out of stock. At this point, we appreciate your appreciation as we prioritize the goods that customers need most. All already reported orders are routinely shipped.

At least five employees have tested positive for coronavirus at Amazon warehouses in Europe, Bloomberg reported. Staff at an Italian Amazon warehouse went on strike on March 17th to protest what they saw as the company’s insufficient action to save them from infection.

According to the New York Times, Italy was one of the areas hardest affected by coronavirus with over 53,000 people infected and more than 4,800 dead. The country reported 793 new deaths only on Saturday, the Times reported.

Amazon has blocked about a million products for false claims about coronavirus