TO date, the Scottish Government has been treading a tightrope as it tries to balance the re-mobilisations of the economy and the NHS.

In the face of spiralling Covid cases which have left the NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde regions with the highest infection rates in Europe, the messaging has been: "don't panic".

The public has been urged to voluntarily reduce their social contacts, meet outdoors, and be cautious.

A circuit breaker lockdown is not being considered, ministers insist, with public health experts warning that to do so would undermine the message that vaccines are our "way out".

READ MORE: Surge in Covid patients as NHS under pressure from 'out of control' A&E and spiralling waiting lists 

Apart from anything else, it would be financially unviable. As Kate Forbes told Holyrood's Finance Committee yesterday, Scottish Government funds are "just not sufficient" to bankroll furlough or self-employed income support "if we were to find ourselves going into another lockdown".

That said, the UK furlough scheme is due to end on September 30. Is there an argument to take advantage while we still can and use the time to maximise vaccination in younger age groups? - particularly amid speculation that the JCVI might soon recommend Covid vaccines for all over-12s.

In the meantime, as a growing number of beds are ring-fenced for Covid patients and seriously ill non-Covid patients admitted from A&E, the fallout will be felt most by the "non-urgent elective" patients.

READ MORE: Netherlands and Denmark turn to testing and apps to reopen economies

The term does a disservice to those in pain as they await a hip replacement or any number of other planned procedures.

But, as Scotland's national clinical director, Professor Jason Leitch, put it: "The only thing you can turn off in a health system is elective care.

"You can't postpone strokes, heart attacks and emergency admissions for the elderly."

HeraldScotland: Denmark lifted all restrictions, including mandatory facemasks, in June but restricted entry into crowded public venues through its coronapas system. It has also been vaccinating children over 12 against Covid since JulyDenmark lifted all restrictions, including mandatory facemasks, in June but restricted entry into crowded public venues through its coronapas system. It has also been vaccinating children over 12 against Covid since July

Maybe there is another way to stem infections and protect the NHS though?

In Europe, several countries are protecting public spaces with 'passports' banning entry into venues such as bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and cinemas without proof of vaccination or a negative test.

This enables them to operate at full capacity, without distancing, while simultaneously curbing infections.

Surely that could be a better way forward for Scotland this winter?