Toronto– A Canadian public health authority has ordered retail and e-commerce behemoth Amazon to shut one of its fulfilment centres owing to an increase in Covid-19 caseloads.

Peel Public Health has issued an order under the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act to Amazon Canada to require all individuals working at “8050 Heritage Road in Brampton to self-isolate for two weeks effective March 13, 2021.”

In accordance with the order, all employees will be required to self-isolate through March 27, “unless they have tested positive in the last 90 days and completed their isolation period as directed by public health,” the health authority said in a statement.

“This Amazon facility is in a vulnerable community and employs thousands of people. Immediate action must be taken to protect these essential workers and the community where they live,” said Dr Lawrence C Loh, Medical Officer of Health.

“This was a difficult decision but a necessary one to stop further spread both in the facility and across our community,” Low added.

In a statement to The Verge on Saturday, an Amazon spokesperson said the “company doesn’t believe the data supports the closure, and that it plans to appeal the decision”.

“This closure may have some short-term impact on our Canadian customers, but we will work to recover as quickly as possible,” the company said.

Over the past few weeks, the rate of COVID-19 infection in Peel region has been decreasing while the rate inside this facility has been increasing significantly, the health authority said.

In March last year, Kentucky’s governor ordered an Amazon warehouse in the state remain closed following an outbreak.

Amazon temporarily closed one of its warehouses in New Jersey in December. (IANS)