Vaccine passports could be used by workplaces, the Government suggested last night, as it hailed 10.4 million people signing up to use the NHS app. 

In a move that will alarm Tory MPs, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) appeared to hint that the use of Covid status certification could be a useful tool in helping people return to the office.

It comes after Government guidance issued last week said that hospitality firms will be encouraged to consider asking customers to show Covid passports to enter their premises.

Ministers were accused of widening the net of companies encouraged to use domestic Covid passports after Boris Johnson also signalled on Monday that they would be recommended for nightclubs and venues with "large crowds".

The Government is not being prescriptive about what venues fit its description, so it will be up to venue management or landlords themselves to decide whether vaccine passports are necessary to guarantee the safety of staff and patrons.

However, official guidance has warned that if “sufficient measures are not taken to limit infection, the Government will consider mandating the NHS COVID Pass in certain venues at a later date.”

The passports, known as a Covid 19 Pass, allow people to prove their Covid status, either through a negative test, proof they have been double vaccinated or have Covid antibodies. 

Business owners vaccine passports form

They are already being used by British holidaymakers travelling abroad, with over 30 countries now recognising it as proof of vaccination status.

They are available through the NHS app, which is separate to the test and trace app, but remain voluntary for businesses and venues. 

How many people have been vaccinated?

However, in a press release issued overnight, DHSC appeared to indicate that they could also be used to help people return to offices, as it hailed the news that six million people had signed up in the past three months.

The document stated: “As many as 10.4 million people have now signed up to the NHS App, with over 6 million new users since the COVID-19 vaccination status service was added on 17 May.

“The app’s COVID-19 vaccine status service allows users easily to show their proof of vaccine, which will help people to travel abroad, start returning to workplaces and attend largescale events as we cautiously proceed with the roadmap.”

The release did not specify which workplaces might seek to use them, although Government sources last night said that there had been no change in the policy.

The Department for Health on Sunday night insisted it did not have plans to actively encourage workplaces such as offices to use Covid passports.