SCOTLAND’S Covid safety plans could be “imperilled” by Boris Johnson’s plan to “save his own political skin”, Ian Blackford has warned.

The Prime Minister has signalled that the legal requirement for self-isolation, as well as free tests, will be scrapped in England next week.

The Tory leader will confirm his plans on Monday, with opposition politicians suggesting the move is part of an effort to rally support among disillusioned backbench MPs who oppose strict coronavirus rules.

Conservatives have also rebelled over rule-breaking parties on Downing Street, with the Prime Minister currently under investigation by the Metropolitan Police. Johnson is facing further accusations of allowing ultra-rich donors access into his inner circle.

He has been warned by scientists and devolved leaders that the strategy is reckless as case and death rates remain high.

Blackford insisted that the Scottish Government’s more cautious approach must not be jeopardised by Westminster, reiterating the importance of self-isolation rules and free home testing kits.

He told BBC Radio Scotland's The Sunday Show: "These tests have been quite instrumental in making sure that we can keep the lid on the spread of the virus as much as we can.

"We can't be put into a situation where our health is being imperilled by the decisions that Boris Johnson may be making to save his own political skin.

"Because let's remember that a number of his backbenchers rebelled against his plans to deal with Covid a matter of weeks ago.

"This is more to do with Boris Johnson than it is to do with taking the right decisions on public health grounds."

But in an interview with Sophie Raworth broadcast on BBC Sunday Morning, Johnson said the UK Government must now encourage personal responsibility.

“We have reached a stage where we think you can shift the balance away from state mandation, away from banning certain courses of action, and compelling certain courses of action, in favour of encouraging personal responsibility,” he commented.

Nicola Sturgeon will unveil her government’s plans for living with Covid at Holyrood on Tuesday.

The National: Nicola Sturgeon pictured at First Minister's Question's last week with Health Secretary Humza Yousaf

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Blackford added that the Scottish Government would continue to follow World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance, which supports keeping mass testing in place.

He said: "I would say to the UK Government, it would be the height of irresponsibility if ourselves and the other devolved nations didn't have that ability to offer free testing. It must remain in place."

Blackford said Sturgeon's announcement on Tuesday would be a roadmap "to deal with Covid, to get on with our lives and get back to normal as much as we can”.

He added: "But with all that, it's key that we continue to give the necessary protections to people."

Johnson’s plans could also be complicated by the news the Queen has tested positive for Covid-19, according to a Tory MP.

Commons Committee chair Caroline Nokes told Times Radio the announcement “makes it tricky” for the UK Government to end all restrictions this week, adding: "But we have to strike a balance."

Scientists also raised doubts about the Prime Minister’s strategy.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the council of the British Medical Association, told BBC News: “I think the right time is when the first leap of faith is supported.

“You have at the moment more people dying, more people in the hospital, than you had before Plan B (restrictions) was introduced.

“It seems a rather odd decision to make. We need to see case rates fall down even more – remembering that people aren’t being restricted at the moment in any severe way at all – people are living normally.

“The second thing is we do need therefore to continue having surveillance, because you won’t know whether you’ve reached that point where the infection rates have come down enough until you’ve had that surveillance.”

Dr Mike Tildesley, from the University of Warwick and a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling group (Spi-M), also warned it was too early to axe all Covid rules.

He told Times Radio that at some point the restrictions would have to be eased but that “the concern now is that we still have relatively high cases”.

“The concern, of course, is with removing testing, removing self-isolation, that may cause quite a big change in behaviour,” he explained.

Tildesley said one of his biggest concerns was support for people in low-income jobs to isolate and that there was a “real concern” that getting rid of the rules would lead to more infections in workplaces.

“If we lose free testing then a lot of people won’t test any more and without that data that will put us in a much weaker position,” he added.

The expert said that “in the longer term” we would have to move to a post-Covid phase, but “in the short term we’re not out of the woods yet”.