The Government is considering introducing immunity passports, so those who have had coronavirus can get back to work.
Matt Hancock said he had a “very strong interest” in bringing in such a policy, after returning to work yesterday (Thursday) following his own spell of self-isolation with Covid-19.
However, the Health Secretary said that it was “too early in the science of immunity” to be able to bring in a comprehensive scheme.
He said: “We are looking at an immunity certificate – how people who have had the disease, have got the antibodies and therefore have immunity can… get back as much as possible to normal life.”
Researchers in Germany are currently preparing a mass study into how many people are immune to Covid-19, which will allow authorities to issue passes to exclude workers from restrictive lockdown measures.
Downing Street also hinted that the UK could consider such a scheme, saying that the Government would always “look to learn” from other countries.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “This is something which has been discussed in other countries.
“We have always said we are watching closely what other countries are doing and will always look to learn from ideas which could be helpful.”
German researchers hope to have hit 100,000 antibody tests by the end of next month, to track how many people have recovered the virus.
This would then be repeated regularly to help decide when to reopen schools and lift other lockdown restrictions.
Those shown to have developed immunity could be given a “kind of vaccination passport that allows them, for example, to be exempted from curbs on their activities”, Germany’s leading immunologist Gérard Krause said.
The Government has been under pressure to increase the screening of medics, so that those who are self-isolating unnecessarily can return to work.
Last night Mr Hancock said that over 5000 NHS workers have been tested in specialised sites across the country, with 5.7 per cent of doctors absent because of the virus.
However, he insisted that over 100,000 coronavirus tests will be carried out daily by the end of April.
Mr Hancock said that the goal extended to ensuring that every NHS worker in need of a test would be able to receive one in “the coming weeks”.