The amount of time Brits will have to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone with coronavirus is to be cut from two weeks to 10 days, it has been reported.

Anyone who comes into contact with someone infected with coronavirus currently has to self-isolate for two weeks – although The Guardian reports that this will now be decreased to 10 days.

The reduced quarantine time is reportedly being made possible by increasing the use of rapid tests.

It is reported that Brits will be allowed to stop self-isolating on the tenth day after coming into contact with an infected person, following a negative test but if they test positive on that date, they will be asked to continue self-isolating for a further eight days.

New rapid test centres in Liverpool were opened last week as part of the first mass coronavirus testing programme.

Coronavirus testing
The government has said rapid tests could be rolled out to 'millions' by Christmas

The armed forces have been brought in to the city to help deliver the scheme, which uses lateral flow tests to deliver results in under an hour for people who are not showing symptoms of the virus.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the rapid testing being piloted for the next 10 or so days in Merseyside could be a "real way forward through the crisis".

The Guardian reports that the Government had initially planned to halve the period of self-isolation to seven days and was ultimately hoping to scrap it entirely by offering tests to people as soon as they are notified of contact with an infected person.

Coronavirus testing
The reduced quarantine time is reportedly being made possible by increasing the use of rapid tests

But a source with knowledge of the discussions is reported to have said England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty rejected the move.

It comes after a group of academics said the potential for "harmful diversion of resources and public money is vast" and warned the £500m rapid testing project could be a "costly failure".

Coronavirus testing
Soldiers wearing PPE prepare for the arrival of members of the public inside a mass and rapid testing centre in Liverpool

Angela Raffle, a consultant in public health based in Bristol, said: "Experience with screening tells us that if you embark on a screening programme without having carefully evaluated it first, without a proper quality assured pathway, without the certainty of test performance in field settings, without full information for participants, and without the means to ensure that the intervention needed for those with positive results does indeed take place, the result is an expensive mess that does more harm than good.

"Having looked carefully into what is being proposed, my assessment is that the current proposals for screening the City of Liverpool using SARS-CoV-2 rapid tests are not fit for purpose."