Royal Mail and Amazon are scrambling to seize control of Boris Johnson’s “Operation Moonshot” programme to deliver 215,000 home testing kits a day.
The duo are this weekend finalising rival bids to win a £550m, one-year contract from the taxpayer to spearhead home testing as part of NHS Test and Trace.
The Department for Health has given operators four days warning, prompting a frenzied effort to submit bids ahead of a deadline on Tuesday.
Along with delivering 215,000 home testing kits every day, seven days of Covid test “buffer stock” must be held. Up to four tests can be delivered to each household every day, official filings reveal.
The contract value could swell to more than £1bn with an option to extend for another 12 months.
Amazon, founded by the world’s richest person Jeff Bezos, was awarded the contract for the home testing of key workers in March. The US tech giant has waived any fees and charges for its services. However, the tender notice says: “Price is not the only award criterion.”
A mass home testing regime is a central plank of Mr Johnson’s ambition to allow Britons to return to a more normal life until scientists develop a Covid-19 vaccine.
Last month, Royal Mail’s Keith Williams said: “[Moonshot] is an opportunity for Royal Mail to show what we can do.”