AMAZON has told its workers in Durham and Darlington it will be testing for variants of Covid-19 and sharing results with public health authorities.

The online retailer, which has been offering workers voluntary Covid tests at its North East warehouses, has said it will analyse test results for variants of the virus.

An internal memo sent to workers on Monday said all positive test from workers using its its 'on-site testing programme' would put through an additional level of analysis.

In the memo, it said that Public Health England had requested Amazon to "share" specific variant analysis to support the wider effort on controlling the spread of the virus.

Read more: Amazon rolls out Covid testing in Durham and Darlington warehouses

That comes days after Amazon revealed its Manchester testing lab had implemented  variant "analysis" technology to help support authorities in tracking new variants.

The Northern Echo:

Amazon workers in Durham and Darlington are being tested for Covid variants Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

In a statement last week Luke Meredith, director of the Amazon Diagnostic Laboratory in Britain, said it had already processed more than 900,000 tests from workers so far.

Those comments were made as he said Amazon had invested in such technology in a bid to help support health authorities in the fight against the virus.

He said: "Most recently, the rise of COVID-19 variants has added another element of complexity in the fight against the spread of the virus.

"The UK has subsequently become a leader in variant analysis, allowing scientists to adapt testing strategies based on the detection of a particular variant.

"This innovation is aiding the government’s efforts to track and implement the most appropriate transmission response based on a specific variant."

Mr Meredith suggested the ability to test thousands of its workforce had allowed it to "detect" early trends in variants.

He added: "Similar to the benefits of regularly testing asymptomatic individuals, to help slow the spread of the virus, investing in variant analysis of the positive samples of our front-line workforce enables us to detect early viral trends, and support broader community efforts to help slow the spread of new variants.

"We’ll continue to support the UK health authorities as they work to control the spread of Covid-19 variants."