Amazon announced last Tuesday its plans to prioritise the shipping of vital medical and household goods in the US, the UK and other European countries until April 5 to free up inventory space for medical and household goods.

An Amazon spokesman confirmed to IDG that Amazon has issued “social distancing” instructions for its employees. This made it necessary for Amazon to concentrate its available capacities on the products with the highest priority.

Existing orders would still be processed.

However, customers could still order such products from Amazon partners, provided that they deliver to their customers independently.

Specifically, and are no longer accepting orders for non-essential products. As a result of this restriction, Amazon employees in the shipping centres should be able to concentrate on shipping the currently most important goods.

Essential products include, among other things, grocery, baby products, health and household goods, pet food, and also cosmetic products. Industrial and scientific products are also considered essential.

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Will this order to stop certain products also come to We are contacting Amazon UK for comment.

Our IDG colleagues at asked , but their contact could not currently say anything - as of today nothing would change for Amazon customers from Germany (which has a very low mortality rate from the virus), so we presume the same is true for the UK and US at this moment even though the mortality rate in these countries is higher.

“We will temporarily stop taking orders on some non-essential products on and,” said in a statement.

“This lets fulfillment center associates focus on receiving and shipping the products customers need most at this time.”

This currently only applies to Italy and France. Amazon is responding to the coronavirus. Italy is particularly hard hit by the Covid-19 epidemic. But the number of infected people and people who died from Covid-19 is also increasing in France.

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Amazon customers can still order non-basic products from Marketplace companies selling on Amazon that do not use Amazon's shipping logistics but ship themselves. However, their delivery may currently take longer than usual.

Amazon is ensuring that its employees in the Amazon shipping centres keep the minimum distance from each other and adhere to the hygiene requirements.

The giant retailer is hiring 100,000 extra full-time and part-time employees in its US fulfilment centres and delivery network to help it cover the surge in online shopping.

Additional reporting: Hans-Christian Dirscherl, PCWelt-de