The UK government 'must honour its commitment' to continue to fund lateral flow tests in Scotland if they are required, the Health Secretary has said.

Under new Westminster plans healthy adults would reportedly no longer be eligible to order free lateral flow tests on the NHS.

Most people would be expected to pay for their kits, though the price has not yet been fixed. The advice to take regular lateral flow tests is also expected to be dropped.

It isn’t clear who would be eligible for free tests but this is thought to be those who are more vulnerable to coronavirus including older people and those with underlying health conditions.

Reports suggest people could still be given free lateral flow tests when they test positive – but this may also be limited to at-risk groups.

READ MORE: Scotland to follow Wales and offer Covid vaccines to 5 to 11-year-olds

Sage, the independent group of advisers who have been counselling the Government throughout the pandemic, cautioned against removing free testing.

The group said getting rid of free testing would make it harder for people to take precautions and “may also increase anxiety among those who have found testing reassuring after possible exposure, particularly those who are, or live with, someone who is clinically vulnerable”.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said it was essential that all the devolved governments were involved in decisions about free testing.

He said there could be situations in the future where free tests are recommended by public health in some parts of the UK but not others and said the Westminister government had a duty to honour its funding obligation.

He said: “Free tests and being required to isolate when testing positive are effective in addressing the virus and should remain for as long as the expert public health advice recommends. We are clear that all devolved administrations must be involved in any decisions about any changes to testing.

“If we reach a point that public health advice in any part of the UK is that testing should be maintained while others end it, the UK Government must honour its commitment to ensuring they remain funded.

"This is crucial to ensure all parts of the UK have the capability to address future variants that may emerge, which is why any decisions must be driven by public health advice.”

READ MORE: GP patients want telephone appointments to continue but say they are 'worse than face-to-face'

Changes to free LFTs and PCR tests are expected to be announced under the Government’s “Living Safely with Covid” strategy, which is due to be revealed on February 21.

All remaining domestic Covid legal restrictions in England are likely to be scrapped later this month.

Asked on BBC's Good Morning Scotland to justify why Scotland will have the UK's most stringent measures, Mr Swinney said: "I don't think that is the case.

"We have relaxed very significantly the restrictions within Scotland. We have the existing arrangments of the wearing of face masks in public and to a certain extent within the school estate although that is going to be changing.

Mr Swinney said it was important to have a legal framework in place to be able to act swifly if cases surge once again to protect public health.

He said: "Covid has not gone away, it's not ended. Anyone who puts that argument around is just misleading people.

"Covid is still a significant theat to public health. We've got to proceed with care but also apply the proportionate test and that's what the Scottish Government looks at, at all times to make sure the measures are proportionate."