The tests could cut quarantine time in half (Image: PA)
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Pregnancy-style coronavirus testing kits could mean quarantining for those who have been in contact with a positive case, will be cut in half.
The kits, which give results in minutes, would be used to identify uninfected contacts and release them from what is currently 14 days of quarantine.
The testing scheme will be trialled on emergency workers in Liverpool next week, who will return to shifts if they test negative, it has been reported.
It will then be rolled out to contacts of Covid-19 cases in the city who have been isolating for at least a week.
If successful, it could be used across the UK, although this is not expected to get the green light until next year.
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Experts described the scheme as a way of "un-crippling society and parts of the economy that are important at this critical juncture".
Professor Calum Semple, an expert in outbreak medicine and member of SAGE at the University of Liverpool, told The Times the plans would release key workers from quarantine.
'If we use lateral flow tests on a daily basis, we can completely avoid quarantine.
'If you take a fire truck with six people and the driver is Covid-positive, then five people sitting behind him have to go into quarantine for 14 days.
"That's quite a crude, arbitrary 14 days.
"So we can take the other five people and give them a new driver, and give the rest of them multipacks of lateral low tests to use each morning before the shift.
"And we can keep that fire truck on the road."
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The two-week quarantine is aimed at stopping anyone who has been exposed to the virus, and hence could be infected, from spreading it further.
It was first recommended on the basis that anyone infected with the virus could take up to two weeks to show symptoms.
But many studies have shown that most people who are infected tend to show symptoms up to five days after they were first infected.