Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has said the Scottish Government is “not actively” considering covid restrictions amid fears of a winter surge.

Yousaf also admitted COP26 in Glasgow presented a “risk” of more positive cases, but said he was “assured” by the safety procedures in place.

Concerns exist that high covid levels could put the NHS under unprecedented strain in the coming months.

With tens of thousands of people flocking to Glasgow within days for the international climate crisis summit, experts have said the restrictions that were abandoned in the autumn may have to be reintroduced.

Yousaf, speaking to the BBC Scotland Sunday Show, highlighted daily testing and a requirement for face masks in the COP26 “blue zone” venue as examples of protections.

He said: “Of course we expect there to be positive cases that are linked to COP, but we are also very, very assured by the protocols we’ve got in place to be able to isolate those cases as best as we possibly can.”

“There is actually a risk of covid cases rising thereafter, but we’ll do everything we can to mitigate that.”

On the possibility of covid restrictions having to be brought in again, he said:

“We are not actively considering restrictions.”

He added: “What are we trying our best to do, through the mitigation measures, is not to go back into restrictions, because we know the harm they have on people’s health, mental health, as well as of course wider society and the economy.”

On whether restrictions would be necessary over Christmas, Yousaf said: “If there’s one thing I have learnt about this virus, it’s that anybody suggesting we have a crystal ball would be foolish.”

It comes as Professor Devi Sridhar, who sits on the advisory group, expressed her concerns about the effects of COP26 on the deadly virus.

On Twitter, she responded to a question about whether the event will make the coronavirus situation in Scotland worse and lead to new curbs on freedoms.

She wrote: "I could be wrong (and hope I am) but yes.

"A mass event (with major movement of people in & out) with an infectious virus will cause an increase in cases. While in the case of COVID will put stress on limited health services. Which triggers need for further restrictions."

Another respected voice on the pandemic, Professor Linda Bauld, had previously sounded the alarm on COP26.

She told Times Radio: "Yes, I am worried about a Glaswegian spike, and I'm not worried just about Glasgow. The central belt is interconnected.”

To sign up to the Daily Record Politics newsletter, click here.