Boris Johnson today denied bungling coronavirus lockdowns as he held out hope that scientific developments could mean a 'different approach' in the next 'few weeks and months'.
The PM defended his handling of the crisis amid growing criticism and disquiet on his own benches.
As the virtual Tory conference gets underway, Mr Johnson urged the public to be 'fearless but use common sense'.
He said 'in the course of the next few weeks and months the scientific equation will change' and that would allow a 'different approach'.
But in an interview on the BBC's Andrew Marr show, he cautioned: 'it will continue to be bumpy through to Christmas. It may even be bumpy beyond.'
He added: 'This could be a very tough winter for all of us.'
In an interview on the BBC's Andrew Marr show, Boris Johnson cautioned: 'it will continue to be bumpy through to Christmas. It may even be bumpy beyond.'
The comments came after almost 13,000 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the UK yesterday - double the number for the previous day.
However, the Department of Health blames the spike on a technical problem, without saying exactly what the issue was.
Mr Johnson said: 'The reason for that is because there was a failure in the counting system.'
He also suggested that it might have meant delays in some people getting crucial test results.
'All the people who had a positive test result have now been notified,' he said.
Mr Johnson acknowledged that people were 'furious' with him about the pandemic.
But he insisted he could not do as some wished and let the disease 'rip' to protect the economy.
Mr Johnson said: 'On the one hand we have the imperative to save life, it is a moral imperative to save life if we possibly can.
'On the other hand we have to keep our economy moving and our society going.
'That is the balance that we are trying to strike and that's why we have got the package of measures now that are in force both nationally and locally.
'What we want people to do is behave fearlessly but with common sense, to follow the guidance – whether national or local – get the virus down but allow us as a country to continue with our priorities.'
He said he believed the science would 'change' in the coming months which would allow the Government and the country to alter its approach to dealing with Covid-19.
He said: 'What I hope, and I believe very strongly, is that in the course of the next weeks and months, the scientific equation will change and we will start to see progress, whether it is on vaccines or on testing, that will enable us to take a different