The nightclub industry could be allowed to reopen under a rapid testing plan under consideration by the government.

The proposal could allow large events and mass gatherings to resume later this year in situations where social distancing is impractical or uneconomical.

Government officials confirmed that plans were being drawn up for rapid testing to be rolled out once most of the economy had reopened.

“Quick turnround testing is part of a plan to get mass gatherings back,” one insider told the Financial Times.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference last night, prime minister Boris Johnson said that so-called “vaccination passports” would be unlikely be required for restaurants and pubs.

Johnson also told Sky News: “What I don’t think we will have in this country is — as it were — vaccination passports to allow you to go to, say, the pub or something like that.”

The prime minister added that rapid testing, along with mass vaccination, would be examined for “those bits that are the toughest nuts to crack”, namely venues that the government failed to reopen last year, such as nightclubs and some theatres.

Ministers are considering plans for “test with a ticket”, where customers will be offered a quick turnround test for Covid-19 as part of attending a concert or performance.

“Those kind of things can really help us open up things with bigger numbers, where social distancing affects their ability to operate in an economic way,” one individual with knowledge of the plans said.

The plans are reported to be “at the very early stages”. A ministerial aide said: “Everyone in government is desperate to open stuff up, but we have to give the confidence that it can stay up. We have to take it step by step.”

Lateral flow tests have, however, been plagued by doubts over their accuracy and one person working on the plans noted that “it’s not going to be perfect, we can’t provide total assurance”.