JOHN Swinney has warned that Scots could be required to show a negative Covid test as well as proof of vaccination before being allowed to enter some settings.

The Deputy First Minister and Covid Recovery Secretary said that this “theoretical option” was under consideration as part of a discussion on whether vaccine passports should be expanded.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is due to announce decisions on this to Holyrood next Tuesday – but said it could be expanded to include cinemas, theatres and other parts of hospitality and any changes would come into force on December 6.

READ MORE: Sturgeon: Covid passports in cinemas and hospitality 'from December' - but final decision delayed

Currently, Scots must show proof of double vaccination or exemption to gain entry into nightclubs and large gatherings.

As well as deciding if the scheme – which currently applies to nightclubs and some other large events – needs to be expanded, ministers will also consider whether people could be allowed to show a recent negative lateral flow test as an alternative to providing vaccination details.

Mr Swinney said this “would have to be a judgment that was considered as part of this process, the Government has not come to a conclusion on the question of adding on a testing element to the programme”.

But he told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme it was also possible that people could be required to show both a vaccination certificate and a negative Covid test for some “high-risk locations”.

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The Deputy First Minister said: “The other option is to add on testing on to vaccination as well, so vaccine certificate and testing.

“That is a theoretical option.”

He added: “What we’ve got to make sure is we’re taking the right and proportionate decisions, that is the test the Government has got to apply.

“We want to look at the most up-to-date information on the state of the pandemic and make decisions about what lies ahead for us in what we know is going to be a very challenging winter, and take appropriate and proportionate decisions.”

Last month, Health Secretary Humza Yousaf told MSPs that Scotland has not followed other European countries in offering a negative test as an alternative to a vaccine passport due to fears over people “falsifying” results.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf: 'Falsifying' results fears if negative test allowed instead of vaccine passport

Business leaders however have spoken out about the prospect of extending the vaccination certification scheme.

Mr Swinney however said that changes to vaccine certification were being considered in a bid to allow “the business community and members of the public to be able to enjoy life as normally as we possibly can do”.

With Covid cases having increased again recently, he added: “The alternative is obviously much wider restrictions which the Government wants to avoid if we can.”

His comments came as he said he hoped Scots would be able to enjoy a “normal Christmas”, stressing however this could only happen if “people are careful and as long as we continue to sustain the adherence to the baseline measures we have in place”.

But the Deputy First Minister said: “The warning the Government has had to make is that this is an unpredictable pandemic, and we have to look at the sequence of events, the acute threat we still face from the pandemic and make sure that we have in place the appropriate measures to protect the public to enable as much of life to go on as normal.

“That’s the strategic focus of the Government, we are trying to control the pandemic to the greatest extent possible to enable people to enjoy life as normally as possible.”

Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said the comments by Mr Swinney showed the “SNP Government has now been forced to concede that proof of a negative test must be an integral part of our Covid reduction strategy”.

She added: “Had the SNP not put partisanship above public safety and listened to the voice of Scottish Labour months ago, they would not find themselves forced into this embarrassing U-turn.”

“Proof of a negative test must be part of our Covid reduction strategy, but making it compulsory in addition to a vaccine passport is potentially placing too great a burden on people and businesses.

“The Government must review the scientific evidence, listen to businesses, and consider whether proof of a negative test is sufficient to allow for entry into restricted venues.”