Covid-19 regulations are not properly understood by nearly 90 per cent of the public, according to the country’s largest study of lockdown attitudes.
Researchers claim the number of people who fully grasp the rules has “dropped markedly” since the end of the first lockdown – a trend “exacerbated” by the three-tier system.
The greatest confusion currently reigns in England, where only 13 per cent of people “fully understand” what they can and cannot do, a survey by University College London (UCL) found.
It comes amid mounting concern that the three-tier system will ultimately prove too complex for people to follow.
Kit Malthouse, the minister for crime and policing, insisted people have an "individual duty" to educate themselves about which restrictions apply in their area.
His comments were a riposte to Owen Weatherill, the second most senior officer in the country in the national Covid policing effort, who told MPs the confusing rules risked undermining compliance.
The UCL study, which involved 70,000 respondents, found only 51 per cent of people in England claim to understand the “majority” of the new rules, compared with 62 per cent in Wales and 66 per cent in Scotland.
Perplexity was rife among young adults with just one in 20 people aged under 30 saying they completely understood the rules in England and Wales.
Dr Daisy Fancourt, the lead author from UCL’s Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, said: “Levels of understanding around what is and isn’t allowed under lockdown restrictions have dropped markedly since nationwide strict lockdown has ended.
“Confusing messages or unclear communication could result in people disengaging from trying to keep abreast of restrictions, which could well lead to lower compliance in the long term.”