The UK government reassured people on Tuesday they will not face major restrictions if they refuse to have a coronavirus jab with officials considering a recent Covid-19 test result as an alternative to ‘vaccine passports’. Prime minister Boris Johnson has announced he is considering the introduction of some kind of documentation or smartphone app which people would be asked to show in order to demonstrate they are free of the disease.

Despite Johnson expressing concerns over the “philosophical, ethical” issues raised by the introduction of Covid status certification, people may be asked to produce such proof to enter workplaces, stadiums or restaurants when England’s lockdown ends in the summer. On Tuesday Johnson announced Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove would lead an official review into the contentious issue.

Critics have warned that a “vaccine passport” could be discriminatory against those who cannot be inoculated because of existing health conditions or, for example, pregnancy. Refusal to take the jab is more common among ethnic minorities in the UK — opening up the potential for racial discrimination claims.

At the same time, however, the review will not rule out the possibility that companies could choose to ban people who have not been vaccinated. Managers already have the right to refuge-enable access to their premises at their discretion.