Boris Johnson has warned the UK is “vulnerable” to a deadly resurgence of coronavirus as winter approaches.
The Prime Minister said the country had done “an incredible thing” battling the virus but the UK still faced the threat of a second wave.
Mr Johnson issued the winter warning as he admitted the government could have handled the outbreak differently in the early months.
And he conceded that Tory ministers had failed to understand the virus properly at the beginning of the pandemic.
But he denied that ministers had been too slow to bring in the lockdown, telling BBC News: “No, on the contrary, no if you look at the timing of every single piece of advice that we got from our advisers, from Sage, you will find that whenever they said that we needed to take a particular step, actually, we stuck to that advice like glue.”
Mr Johnson delivered a stark warning about the threat of a second wave as he urged the public to get a flu jab ahead of the winter.
He said: “Collectively, this country has done an incredible thing to get the disease down to the levels it’s at. But we all know that it can come back.
“And we can see what’s happening in other countries – I won’t name them – but you can see the resurgence that’s happening. We know that we’re vulnerable there.
“So that’s why we’re getting on now with our preparations for the winter… a massive flu vaccination programme, stockpiling PPE, making sure that we ramp up Test and Trace, and making sure that people get tested if they have symptoms.”
Mr Johnson dodged questions about what the government had got wrong in the early days but admitted that there were things that could have been done “differently”.
“We didn’t understand (the virus) in the way that we would have liked in the first few weeks and months,” he added.
The Prime Minister recently committed to holding an independent inquiry into the handling of the pandemic.
However he has refused to set out any details on when it would take place.