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Less than half of people in England understand the current coronavirus rules, a study revealed.

Researchers found that as measures eased at different rates across the UK, levels of understanding of what is and what is not permitted dropped, particularly among younger adults.

University College London (UCL) research conducted on more than 70,000 adults showed that 45 per cent only had a “broad understanding” of the current rules in place.

This is compared to 90 per cent during the stricter lockdown period across the UK.

Only 14 per cent of participants in England report understanding the rules completely as the lockdown eased, compared to 18 per cent in Wales and 27 per cent in Scotland, according to the study.

Commenting on the findings, lead author Dr Daisy Fancourt said: “This could possibly reflect difficulties in applying the rules to more complex life scenarios amongst younger adults, or may be reflective of the different amounts of time spent following the news on Covid-19 amongst different age groups.

A survey showed that the majority of people did not understand the current rules (AP)

“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.”

The research, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, is the UK’s largest study into how adults are feeling during the pandemic.

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

Only 14 per cent said they understood the measures (PA)

Around one in 20 were unable to speak to a professional about their mental health, while one in five reported not telling a GP about symptoms of an illness when they usually would have – even when an appointment was available.

Meanwhile, researchers said depression and anxiety levels, life satisfaction and happiness have all shown improvements across every socio-demographic group.

Loneliness levels have also decreased further, but there is little change in people reporting major or minor stress due to catching Covid-19, unemployment, finance, or getting food, according to the study.

Cheryl Lloyd, education programme head at the Nuffield Foundation, said: “With concerns growing over a second wave of Covid-19 it is concerning that many people in England report not understanding the current Government guidance.

“As another Nuffield-funded study by the Reuters Institute has shown, people are less likely to access news about Covid-19 on a daily basis now that lockdown has eased.

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