In Brief

Revealed: half of English public ‘don’t understand lockdown rules’

90% of population had ‘clear idea’ of what they had to do during lockdown - but are less clear now

Half of the English public do not understand the current UK lockdown rules, a study has found.

As restrictions have gradually eased due to a falling infection rate, “many people are more confused about the rules than before”, The Telegraph says.

University College, London (UCL) researchers found “the slump in levels of understanding about what is and is not permitted was particularly acute among younger adults”, the paper adds.  

Only 45% of people in England now have a “broad understanding” of the rules, compared with 75% in Scotland and 61% in Wales, where rules have been changed at a different speed, the Daily Mail reports.

Just 14% of respondents in England claim to “understand the rules completely now lockdown has eased”, the paper adds, compared to 18% in Wales and 27% in Scotland. 

Dr Daisy Fancourt, one of the study’s lead authors, said the findings “could possibly reflect difficulties in applying the rules to more complex life scenarios amongst younger adults”, adding that it also “may be reflective of the different amounts of time spent following the news... amongst different age groups”.

“The general drop-off in understanding could be due to unclear messaging from the government, or a reduction in interest and engagement from people, especially with the cessation of the daily Downing Street coronavirus briefing in late June,” Fancourt added. 

The study was funded by the Nuffield Foundation and is the largest so far into how adults in the UK are handling the pandemic.

Cheryl Lloyd, education programme head at the Nuffield Foundation, said that as fears rise over a second wave of the virus, “it is concerning that many people in England report not understanding the current Government guidance”.

“With the rules changing regularly, this may be a factor in the public not understanding the Government guidance.”

It also found that access to healthcare has declined, “with one in 10 people across the UK reporting being unable to see or speak with a GP about their physical health”, The Telegraph says.

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