Scientists have warned that the Government must stop blaming the public for the soaring infection rates and focus on tightening up restrictions.

The Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has identified four key lockdown loopholes that must be closed, as reported by The Mirror.

Office for National Statistics figures for January show traffic and shopping footfall are both higher than for the first lockdown last spring.

This is, in large part, down to ministers opting to allow people to return to work and more children back in schools despite the country being in lockdown.

Independent SAGE has urged the Government to close the following loopholes in the battle against Covid-19:

Home Secretary Priti Patel announced this week new £800 fines for people who breach lockdown rules, however Independent SAGE said house parties are not the problem.

Independent SAGE member Professor Stephen Reicher of the University of St Andrews: "The reason we’ve got problems is not because people are flexing the rules but because the rules are too flexible."

"Compliance levels have remained high throughout the pandemic," he added.

Independent SAGE is a group of unpaid scientists who are working together to provide independent scientific advice on how to minimise deaths and support Britain’s recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.

It is an alternative voice to the official SAGE group, which provides the Government's scientific advice.