John Lewis first UK business to roll-out rapid COVID testing

The John Lewis Partnership has become one of the first UK businesses to roll-out rapid COVID-19 testing.

The retail giant is piloting and rolling-out NHS Test and Trace lateral flow testing at selected John Lewis and Waitrose stores, thanks to a partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care.

The testing was introduced initially to the national John Lewis distribution centre in Milton Keynes in November. Now, the scheme will provide capability to test around 16,000 employees and temporary agency staff per week and enable John Lewis and Waitrose to meet customer needs throughout the festive season. Nearly 1,000 people have volunteered to be tested up to three times a week.

Due to the pilot’s initial success, testing will now be available at 40 John Lewis and Waitrose locations in England, including selected retail stores, supply chain sites, customer fulfilment centres and some factory sites.

With around one in three individuals with COVID-19 not displaying symptoms, testing helps to identify those that need to isolate, ensuring they did not unknowingly pass on the virus.

Test results come within 30 minutes and feeds directly into the national testing database.

Andrew Murphy, Executive Director for Operations at the John Lewis Partnership, said: “We’re proud to have helped develop and establish a testing scheme that contributes towards the UK’s fight against COVID-19. We already have a wide range of measures in place to keep our Partners and customers safe and rapid testing builds on this at our busiest time of the year.”

Health Minister, Lord Bethell, added :“I’m delighted that the John Lewis Partnership are working alongside us in piloting the latest testing technology. It’s fantastic that such a renowned company is joining us in our efforts to make testing available for workers up and down the country.”