Covid-19 pandemic has been a ‘nightmare’ and a ‘disaster’ – Boris Johnson

The coronavirus pandemic has been an "absolute nightmare" and a "disaster" for the country, Boris Johnson has said, as he promised a "whack-a-mole" strategy to tackling local flare-ups of the virus.

The Prime Minister told the newly launched Times Radio he wanted to set out a plan to "bounce forward" following the pandemic.

"This has been a disaster, let's not mince our words, this has been an absolute nightmare for the country," he said.

"The country has gone through a profound shock. But in those moments you have the opportunity to change and to do things better.

"We really want to build back better, to do things differently, to invest in infrastructure, transport, broadband – you name it."

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Coronavirus impacts Britain
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Coronavirus impacts Britain
File photo dated 4/7/2020 of visitors wearing PPE sit apart as they view Eva Gonzales, 1870, by Edouard Manet, at the National Portrait Gallery, London, as it prepares to reopen following the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions across England. The Government has announced a �1.57 billion support package to "protect the future of Britain's museums, galleries and theatres.
A clown circus performer poses in a phone box preparing, with other members of the Association of Circus Proprietors, to deliver a petition calling for permission to open their work, to 10 Downing Street in London, Tuesday July 7, 2020. Circus performers are calling for the right to reopen ahead of the busy summer season. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP)
Staff at Penlon in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, ship the final truck of ventilators out to the NHS. The Ventilator Challenge UK Consortium has produced 13,437 ventilators in 12 weeks. The Consortium includes UK technology, industrial and engineering businesses from across the aerospace, motorsport, automotive and medical sectors and includes Airbus, Ford, GKN Aerospace, McLaren, Siemens and Rolls-Royce.
Late-night drinkers in Soho continue into the early hours of Sunday morning as coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased across England. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
Late-night drinkers in Soho dance on the street in the early hours of Sunday morning as coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased across England. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
A woman poses with a street cleaner in Soho as drinkers continue into the early hours of Sunday morning, as coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased across England. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London
A street cleaner sweeps a street in Soho as late-night drinkers continue into the early hours of Sunday morning as coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased across England. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: Police officers are seen breaking up a fight outside a pub in Soho on July 4, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. The UK Government announced that Pubs, Hotels and Restaurants can open from Saturday, July 4th providing they follow guidelines on social distancing and sanitising. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: Police officers are seen breaking up a fight outside a pub in Soho on July 4, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. The UK Government announced that Pubs, Hotels and Restaurants can open from Saturday, July 4th providing they follow guidelines on social distancing and sanitising. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: A man is seen being carried on his friend's shoulders in Soho on July 4, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. The UK Government announced that Pubs, Hotels and Restaurants can open from Saturday, July 4th providing they follow guidelines on social distancing and sanitising. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: Police officers are seen walking through heavy crowds in Soho on July 4, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. The UK Government announced that Pubs, Hotels and Restaurants can open from Saturday, July 4th providing they follow guidelines on social distancing and sanitising. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: Passengers in a taxi are seen laughing as they drive through thick crowds in Soho on July 4, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. The UK Government announced that Pubs, Hotels and Restaurants can open from Saturday, July 4th providing they follow guidelines on social distancing and sanitising. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: Revellers are seen drinking in Soho on July 4, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. The UK Government announced that Pubs, Hotels and Restaurants can open from Saturday, July 4th providing they follow guidelines on social distancing and sanitising. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: A couple are seen embracing in heavy crowds in Soho on July 4, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. The UK Government announced that Pubs, Hotels and Restaurants can open from Saturday, July 4th providing they follow guidelines on social distancing and sanitising. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)
Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London
A girl plays guitar and a couple kiss under a mural depicting William Shakespeare on the south bank of river Thames, as the capital is set to reopen after the lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, in London, Saturday, July 4, 2020. England is embarking on perhaps its biggest lockdown easing yet as pubs and restaurants have the right to reopen for the first time in more than three months. In addition to the reopening of much of the hospitality sector, couples can tie the knot once again, while many of those who have had enough of their lockdown hair can finally get a trim. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Members of the public are seen at a bar in Manchester's Northern Quarter, England, Saturday July 4, 2020. England is embarking on perhaps its biggest lockdown easing yet as pubs and restaurants have the right to reopen for the first time in more than three months. In addition to the reopening of much of the hospitality sector, couples can tie the knot once again, while many of those who have had enough of their lockdown hair can finally get a trim. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain, wearing a mask against the spread of the coronavirus, attends a press conference after he clocked the second fastest time during the qualifying session at the Red Bull Ring racetrack in Spielberg, Austria, Saturday, July 4, 2020. The Austrian Formula One Grand Prix will be held on Sunday. (Mario Renzi/Pool via AP)
A member of staff at Solvay Society brewery in Leytonstone pours a beer on the first day of reopening after the lockdown due to the Coronavirus outbreak, in London, Saturday, July 4, 2020. England is embarking on perhaps its biggest lockdown easing yet as pubs and restaurants have the right to reopen for the first time in more than three months. In addition to the reopening of much of the hospitality sector, couples can tie the knot once again, while many of those who have had enough of their lockdown hair can finally get a trim. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Members of the public are seen at a bar in Manchester's Northern Quarter, England, Saturday July 4, 2020. England is embarking on perhaps its biggest lockdown easing yet as pubs and restaurants have the right to reopen for the first time in more than three months. In addition to the reopening of much of the hospitality sector, couples can tie the knot once again, while many of those who have had enough of their lockdown hair can finally get a trim. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
A member of the public shares a joke with police on Canal Street in Manchester's gay village, England, Saturday July 4, 2020. England is embarking on perhaps its biggest lockdown easing yet as pubs and restaurants have the right to reopen for the first time in more than three months. In addition to the reopening of much of the hospitality sector, couples can tie the knot once again, while many of those who have had enough of their lockdown hair can finally get a trim. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
NHS staff and campaigners on Westminster Bridge take part in a candlelit procession from St Thomas' Hospital, to Downing Street, London where they are holding a vigil for those who have died as a result of coronavirus and marking the 72nd anniversary of the NHS. Each lantern represents 1000 people who have died from COVID-19 in the UK.
The National Theatre draped in tape at the launch of the #MissingLiveTheatre campaign by Scene Change, the collective of British Theatre Designers. This follows advice that its 400 team of casual workers would be laid off. The National Theatre has told its 400-strong team of casual staff that they will lose their jobs in a move it said was unavoidable as the Covid-19 crisis continues to force job losses across the British theatre landscape. (Photo by David Mbiyu / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Pariss Boseley-Yemm holds a thermometer at the reopening of The Salon Leeds, as coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased across the country, in Leeds, England, Saturday July 4, 2020. Restrictions which were imposed on March 23 have been eased allowing businesses including pubs, restaurants and hair salons, to reopen to members of the public with measures in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (Danny Lawson/PA via AP)
Campaigners hold lanterns outside Downing Street for British NHS medical and care workers who have died due to COVID-19, in London, Friday, July 3, 2020. A number of NHS staff and campaigners carried one lantern to represent people who have died due to COVID-19, as they walked from St. Thomas' Hospital over Westminster Bridge to then hold a candlelit vigil outside Downing Street, where they read out a small number of representative names of NHS staff who died. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Stylist Tommy D'Amour cuts the hair of client Lea Jantz at Tusk Hair in Camden, London, after opening at midnight to the first post-lockdown customer as restrictions are eased across England early Saturday, July 4, 2020. The easing of restrictions, which were imposed on March 23, allows businesses including pubs, restaurants and hair salons, to reopen to members of the public with measures in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (Jonathan Brady/PA via AP)
People riding horses cross the Epsom Downs Racecourse onto the Downs within, in Epsom, England, Friday, July 3, 2020. The Derby annual horse race will take place behind closed doors on upcoming Saturday amid the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
People walk past closed shops in Leicester, England, Tuesday June 30, 2020. The British government has reimposed lockdown restrictions in the English city of Leicester after a spike in coronavirus infections, including the closure of shops that don't sell essential goods and schools. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Protective screens dividing tables at a Wetherspoons pub The Mossy Well in Muswell Hill, London, ahead of pubs reopening on July 4, as further coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted in England. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
A protective shield for customers surrounds the card payment machine at the bar of a Wetherspoons pub The Mossy Well in Muswell Hill, London, ahead of pubs reopening on July 4, as further coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted in England. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
A member of the army collects a test at a coronavirus testing station set up in Victoria Park in Leicester, England, Tuesday June 30, 2020. The British government has reimposed lockdown restrictions in the English city of Leicester after a spike in coronavirus infections, including the closure of shops that don't sell essential goods and schools. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
People arrive at a walk in coronavirus testing station set up in Spinney Hill park in Leicester, England, Tuesday June 30, 2020. The British government has reimposed lockdown restrictions in the English city of Leicester after a spike in coronavirus infections, including the closure of shops that don't sell essential goods and schools. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
A Caffe Ritazza in Waterloo Station, London as SSP, the company behind railway station and airport chains, is reportedly planning to make more than half of its UK workforce redundant.
A passenger waits at a bus stop with a sign advising travellers to wear a face covering whilst travelling, in London, Friday, June 5, 2020. It will become compulsory to wear face coverings whilst using public transport in England from Monday June 15. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
LEICESTER, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: A city council worker carries rubbish from a coronavirus testing centre at Spinney Park which will be incinerated on June 29, 2020 in Leicester, England. In a television appearance on Sunday, British Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed the government was considering a local lockdown after a spike in coronavirus cases in the city. The city's mayor has said that Pubs and restaurants in Leicester may stay closed for two more weeks due to a recent surge in coronavirus cases. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
A pedestrian passes a mural thanking key workers for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic in the centre of Leicester, central England, on June 29, 2020. - The central English city of Leicester could be the country's first to face a local lockdown due to a rise in coronavirus cases, the UK's Home Secretary Priti Patel said on June 28. The Midlands city recorded 658 new cases in the two weeks up to June 16, many linked to fresh outbreaks at food production plants. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
LEICESTER, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: A woman wearing a PPE mask walks past social distance advisory singns in Leicester's North Evington neighbourhood on June 29, 2020 in Leicester, England. In a television appearance on Sunday, British Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed the government was considering a local lockdown after a spike in coronavirus cases in the city. The city's mayor has said that Pubs and restaurants in Leicester may stay closed for two more weeks due to a recent surge in coronavirus cases. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
A pedestrian walks past a stencilled message reminding people to practice social distancing as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19 in the centre of Leicester, central England, on June 29, 2020. - The central English city of Leicester could be the country's first to face a local lockdown due to a rise in coronavirus cases, the UK's Home Secretary Priti Patel said on June 28. The Midlands city recorded 658 new cases in the two weeks up to June 16, many linked to fresh outbreaks at food production plants. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
A Coronavirus testing station has been set up in Victoria Park Leicester
A member of staff at the Apple store in Edinburgh's Princes Street takes the temperature of a customer before entering as non-essential stores across the country reopen today as part of Scotland's phased plan to ease out of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
Members of the public in Leicester City Centre as speculation grows about a localised lockdown in Leicester a localised lockdown in Leicester
John Turner, landlord of The Dolphin pub in Llanymynech, where the border for England and Wales runs along the A483. Drinking establishments on one side of the A road such as The Cross Keys and The Bradford Arms will welcome customers on Saturday 4th July, however The Dolphin, a pub yards inside the Welsh border remains closed.
Social distancing signage at a store in Llanymynech, where the border for England and Wales runs along the A483. Drinking establishments on one side of the A road such as The Cross Keys and The Bradford Arms will welcome customers on Saturday 4th July, however The Dolphin, a pub yards inside the Welsh border remains closed.
A person in their car looks on as they make their way through the lion reserve at Blair Drummond Safari Park, near Stirling, which reopens today as part of Scotland's phased plan to ease out of the coronavirus lockdown.
Labour Leader Keir Starmer joins in a games lesson during a visit to Torriano School in Camden, north London, where he saw the work teachers are doing to keep children educated during lockdown.
Zoo keepers feed the penguins as members of the public visit Edinburgh Zoo, which reopens today as part of Scotland's phased plan to ease out of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 27: Pride in London show parade highlights on the Picadilly screen at Picadilly Circus on June 27, 2020 in London, England. In line with government guideline, the annual Pride parade had to be cancelled this year due to the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Pride in London)
Coronavirus: UK economy could be among worst hit of leading nations, says OECD
Coronavirus: UK economy could be among worst hit of leading nations, says OECD
View of No.1 Court at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in west London on June 27, 2020 the weekend before the Wimbledon Championships tennis tournament were due to start on June 29. - There was none of the usual bustle of preparations the Saturday before the top tennis stars would normally decend on Wimbledon for The Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club. The Championships, which were due to start on June 29, have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Bob MARTIN / AELTC / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by BOB MARTIN/AELTC/AFP via Getty Images)
Businesses are opening in the area of Brick Lane, east London as the British Government has eased the lockdown measures, due to the coronavirus outbreak, London on June 27, 2020. (Photo by Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Coronavirus: UK towns and cities warn of potential bankruptcy due to pandemic
Rubbish that has been collected by locals at Tynemouth beach in north east England, after a busy day there yesterday. (Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)
A woman wearing a face mask walks amid shoppers on Oxford Street in heatwave conditions in London, England, on June 25, 2020. Temperatures rose to 33C in parts of London today, in what has been one of the UK's hottest days of the year so far. Central London was nonetheless busy with shoppers this afternoon as the retail sector mounts its comeback after coronavirus lockdown restrictions on non-essential shops were eased at the beginning of last week. Among retailers, confidence is reportedly low that recovery will be swift, however, with a survey from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) today revealing fears of reduced consumer demand as well as operational challenges such as staff absences and transport difficulties. (Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A man wearing a face mask stands on Oxford Street in heatwave conditions in London, England, on June 25, 2020. Temperatures rose to 33C in parts of London today, in what has been one of the UK's hottest days of the year so far. Central London was nonetheless busy with shoppers this afternoon as the retail sector mounts its comeback after coronavirus lockdown restrictions on non-essential shops were eased at the beginning of last week. Among retailers, confidence is reportedly low that recovery will be swift, however, with a survey from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) today revealing fears of reduced consumer demand as well as operational challenges such as staff absences and transport difficulties. (Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
SOUTHEND-ON-SEA, ENGLAND - JUNE 25: People with face masks sit on the sea wall at the beach on June 25, 2020 in Southend-on-Sea, England. The UK is experiencing a summer heatwave, with temperatures in many parts of the country expected to rise above 30C and weather warnings in place for thunderstorms at the end of the week. (Photo by John Keeble/Getty Images)
A hand-made sign alongside the A82 road in Glencoe, Highlands, as Scotland moves into the second phase of its four-step plan to ease out of lockdown.
Hand-made signs warning people to consider the local community alongside the road in Ballachulish in the Highlands as Scotland moves into the second phase of its four-step plan to ease out of lockdown.
Operations supervisor Dave Warren sprays social distance measure signs on the ground in the new World of Dinosaurs attraction explaining social distancing measures at Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling where staff are preparing to open the attraction on June 29 as part of Scotland's phased release of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
Operations supervisor Dave Warren cleans hand rails at the sea lion pool explaining social distancing measures at Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling where staff are preparing to open the attraction on June 29 as part of Scotland's phased release of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
Operations supervisor Dave Warren installs signs in the rhino yard explaining social distancing measures at Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling where staff are preparing to open the attraction on June 29 as part of Scotland's phased release of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
A coronavirus prevention sign in Bridlington, East Yorkshire, as Thursday could be the UK's hottest day of the year with scorching temperatures forecast to rise even further.
A woman wearing PPE (personal protective equipment), of a face mask or covering as a precautionary measure against spreading COVID-19, arrives on the beach in the sea in Southend on Sea, south east England, on June 24, 2020. - Just days after lockdown ended and European travel restrictions were lifted, many were staying home in the cool Tuesday as a heatwave hit the continent with temperatures touching 40 degrees Celcius. Britain was bracing for a flood of visitors to its beaches with the heatwave expected to last until Friday and temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s in the south and centre of the country. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
PORTHCAWL, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 24: An aerial drone camera view of Sandy Bay beach and Coney Beach pleasure park which remains closed due to coronavirus restrictions as the Met Office warn temperatures could reach 34 degrees this week on June 24, 2020 in Porthcawl, United Kingdom. The First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford has announced that all non-essential shops will be allowed to open their doors again in Wales from Monday but people will be asked to continue to "stay local" with five miles given as guidance until July 6. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
An employee at Marwell Zoo in Hampshire paints social distancing markers in the shape of a paw print outside the Amur Tigers enclosure, as the zoo prepares to reopen to the public from Monday June 29, as further coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted in England. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
Crowds of people gather in Woolton Village, Liverpool and drink alcohol served from local food outlets as further coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted in England.
People enjoying the weather on the beach in Bournemouth as cruise liner docked in the background following the Coronavirus outbreak.
AFC Bournemouth substitutes stand for a minute's silence in memory of the victims of the coronavirus before the Premier League match at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth.
General view of empty walkway towards the Amex Stadium ahead of the game against Arsenal during the Premier League match back following the Coronavirus outbreak.
Players and officials stand for a minute's silence in memory of the victims of the coronavirus before the Premier League match at the London Stadium.
Steven Butterly from Azurablu Scotland Ltd during an electrostatic disinfection clean which follows a deep clean at Ross Sales and Lettings in Glasgow. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
A customer enters a branch of Greggs in Winchester, Hampshire, as the bakery chain reopens 800 stores across the UK following the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
Primark staff in the Belfast city centre store as it opens its doors to customers for the first time since coronavirus lockdown restrictions were imposed in March. (Photo by Brian Lawless/PA Images via Getty Images)
A customer queues outside Primark in Belfast as some non-essential shops in Northern Ireland open their doors to customers for the first time since coronavirus lockdown restrictions were imposed in March. (Photo by Brian Lawless/PA Images via Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JUNE 17: Enda Stevens of Sheffield United during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Sheffield United at Villa Park on June 17, 2020 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
A general view shows jockeys returning from the unplaced finishers on day two of the Royal Ascot horse racing meet, in Ascot, west of London, on June 17, 2020, which is taking place behind 'closed doors' due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ALAN CROWHURST/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
A sign reminding people that the Toilets are hangs at the Kenilworth Castle fence during its reopening. Six sites managed by the English Heritage have reopened to the public this week after closing amid the coronavirus outbreak. Kenilworth Castle and Elizabethan Gardens in Warwickshire are some of the six sites that have adopted a one way system around the whole site, with separate entrance and exit points, along with social distancing markers. (Photo by Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Frankie Dettori is seen in the Queen's silks ahead of the Hampton Court Stakes on day two of the Royal Ascot horse racing meet, in Ascot, west of London, on June 17, 2020, which is taking place behind 'closed doors' due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Edward Whitaker / POOL / AFP) (Photo by EDWARD WHITAKER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Stewards at a gate entering Villa Park in Birmingham as Aston Villa prepare play Sheffield United in the first Premier League match back following the Coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)
FALMOUTH, ENGLAND - JUNE 17: Lee McIntyre of Jam vinyl records and coffee shop poses for the photographer on June 17, 2020 in Falmouth, Cornwall, United Kingdom. The British government have relaxed coronavirus lockdown laws significantly from Monday June 15, allowing zoos, safari parks and non-essential shops to open to visitors. Places of worship will allow individual prayers and protective facemasks become mandatory on public transport. (Photo by Hugh R Hastings/Getty Images)
FALMOUTH, ENGLAND - JUNE 17: Maddy Amos of the Falmouth Bookseller poses for the photographer on June 17, 2020 in Falmouth, Cornwall, United Kingdom. The British government have relaxed coronavirus lockdown laws significantly from Monday June 15, allowing zoos, safari parks and non-essential shops to open to visitors. Places of worship will allow individual prayers and protective facemasks become mandatory on public transport. (Photo by Hugh R Hastings/Getty Images)
In the 24hrs that a further 38 died from Coronavirus, bringing the total to 41,736, a further easing of the UKs Covid pandemic lockdown restrictions took place with many high street shops today being allowed to re-open after three months of forced closure. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, wanting to stimulate the economy, has urged people to "shop with confidence" and long queues formed outside the main brands. But unlike on public transport, face coverings are not compulsory so shop floors and shopping practices have had to be adapted to ensure customers social distances, amid fears of a second infection wave. A social distance sign advising on the 2 metre rule outside the John Lewis department store on Oxford Street, on 15th June 2020, in London, England. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
EASTLEIGH, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/06/15: An employee at Top Gift Mobile stall wears a face shield and mask as preventive measure while working. (Photo by Dawn Fletcher-Park/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
In the 24hrs that a further 38 died from Coronavirus, bringing the total to 41,736, a further easing of the UKs Covid pandemic lockdown restrictions took place with many high street shops today being allowed to re-open after three months of forced closure. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, wanting to stimulate the economy, has urged people to "shop with confidence" and long queues formed outside the main brands. But unlike on public transport, face coverings are not compulsory so shop floors and shopping practices have had to be adapted to ensure customers social distances, amid fears of a second infection wave. A security lady with blue gloves stands at an exit-only door and shows shoppers where to queue 2 metres apart outside Selfridges on Oxford Street, on 15th June 2020, in London, England. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
In the 24hrs that a further 38 died from Coronavirus, bringing the total to 41,736, a further easing of the UKs Covid pandemic lockdown restrictions took place with many high street shops today being allowed to re-open after three months of forced closure. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, wanting to stimulate the economy, has urged people to "shop with confidence" and long queues formed outside the main brands. But unlike on public transport, face coverings are not compulsory so shop floors and shopping practices have had to be adapted to ensure customers social distances, amid fears of a second infection wave. Apple employees wait for shoppers in a queue in Hannover Street to have their forehead temperatures taken with a Thermo Flash infrared no-contact thermometer before being allowed into the Apple Store around the corner in Regent Street, on 15th June 2020, in London, England. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
Hundreds of shoppers stand in line ahead of the store opening at Primark in Birmingham as non-essential shops in England open their doors to customers for the first time since coronavirus lockdown restrictions were imposed in March. (Photo by Jacob King/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUN 14, 2020 - Coronavirus: social distancing signs in Wood Green, non essential shops are allowed to open from tomorrow 15th June- PHOTOGRAPH BY Matthew Chattle / Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Matthew Chattle/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: Indoor Stall Holders prepare to open their shops for tomorrow, at Camden Market on June 14, 2020 in London, UK .As the British government further relaxes Covid-19 lockdown measures in England, this week sees preparations being made to open non-essential stores and Transport for London handing out face masks to commuters. International travelers arriving in the UK will face a 14-day quarantine period. (Photo by Jo Hale/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: Social Distancing Signs on the Cobbles of Camden Market on June 14, 2020 in London, UK .As the British government further relaxes Covid-19 lockdown measures in England, this week sees preparations being made to open non-essential stores and Transport for London handing out face masks to commuters. International travelers arriving in the UK will face a 14-day quarantine period. (Photo by Jo Hale/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: Two mourners pay their respects on June 14, 2020 in London, England. Official memorials for the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire, which killed 72 people, were held online this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. An ongoing public inquiry into the disaster criticised the London Fire Brigade for its "stay put" strategy, in which emergency personnel told residents to stay in their flats for nearly two hours after the fire began. (Photo by Anselm Ebulue/Getty Images)
A member of Black Lives Matter movement, wearing a protective mask against the spread of coronavirus, waits at Hyde Park in London, print to a rally, Saturday, June 13, 2020. British police have imposed strict restrictions on groups planning to protest in London Saturday in a bid to avoid violent clashes between protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as far-right groups. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 13: Sisters Rosie, Grace and Alex McQueen along with their parents and dog Molly watch Grease on the big screen in the Titanic Quarter from their classic camper van on June 13, 2020 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The drive-in cinema is the first of its kind taking place in the UK as some of the restrictions surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic are relaxed. Drive-In Cinema Belfast who organised the event will donate all the profits towards Covid-19 research at Queens University, Belfast. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/06/13: Shoppers use the provided hand washing facility at the entrance of Greenwich market. The government advised that non-essential shops which have been shut since March, could reopen so long as they can apply social distancing rules and follow other measures. (Photo by David Mbiyu/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/06/13: People shopping at Greenwich market. The government advised that non-essential shops which have been shut since March, could reopen so long as they can apply social distancing rules and follow other measures. (Photo by David Mbiyu/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 13: Movie goers watch Grease on the big screen in the Titanic Quarter beneath the famous Harland and Wolff cranes on June 13, 2020 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The drive-in cinema is the first of its kind taking place in the UK as some of the restrictions surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic are relaxed. Drive-In Cinema Belfast who organised the event will donate all the profits towards Covid-19 research at Queens University, Belfast. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Members of the Welsh Guards perform in front of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II during a ceremony to mark her official birthday at Windsor Castle in Windsor, southeast England on June 13, 2020, as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 94th birthday this year. (Photo by TOBY MELVILLE / POOL / AFP) (Photo by TOBY MELVILLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 13: Activists chant as the face police officers on Parliament Street, as far-right linked groups gather around London's statues on June 13, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. Following a social media post by the far-right activist known as Tommy Robinson, members of far-right linked groups have gathered around statues in London. Several statues in the UK have been targeted by Black Lives Matter protesters for their links to racism and the slave trade. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
With the UK's Coronavirus pandemic lockdown easing with preparations going ahead for the opening of more public transport and services plus shops, another 151 have died from Covid-19 bringing the total in the last 24hrs to 41,279. Social distance guides ensure passengers climb the steps into Waterloo Station on the right-hand side, and descend on the opposite left side while Britons are being asked to wear face coverings and to stay apart which is in line with government requirements for all users of public trransport starting next Monday (15th June), on 11th June 2020, in London, England. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
In this Tuesday, June 9, 2020 photo, Nurse Lucy Wraith, left, wearing PPE, personal protective equipment ties a surgical mask around Chloe Allison as they test the measures taken by the practice to receive suspected coronavirus patients at Freshney Green Primary Care Centre, in Grimsby, northeast England. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/Pool Photo via AP)
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He said there will be "some bumpy times" ahead but the UK will get through the economic fallout, adding that people "instinctively" knew it would be tough.

"We've seen a big fall in our GDP and everybody understands as we come out of it there are going to be some bumpy times but the UK is an amazingly dynamic, resilient economy and we're going to come through it very, very well indeed," he said.

The PM insisted now was not the time to "step back" from supporting the economy, adding: "The Government will remain very, very much engaged with people, with businesses helping everybody to get through this.

"We had to put our arms around the UK economy, we had to do the coronavirus job retention scheme, the furlough scheme, all sorts of amazing loans, bounce-back loans and so on, to help businesses, we can't just now step back.

"So what we're going to be doing in the next few months is really doubling down on our initial agenda which was all about investment, if you remember, in infrastructure, in education, in technology, to bring the country together."

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

Mr Johnson said an economic effort like the one enacted by former US president Franklin D Roosevelt in his New Deal out of the great depression was now needed.

The PM acknowledged he had been "very lucky" in his recovery from coronavirus and said the experience had given him an "even deeper love and admiration for the NHS and everything they can do".

But he said he worries about coronavirus deaths and infection rates every day, adding that it was vital to be ready to crack down on local flare-ups.

"Local hospital admissions are coming down, so are the death numbers," he said.

"They are much, much lower than they were a few weeks ago and that is encouraging.

"But the crucial thing is to make sure we are ready to crack down on local flare-ups.

"We have a whack-a-mole strategy."

Coronavirus - Mon Jun 29, 2020
A worker for Leicester City Council disinfects public toilets as the city may be the first UK location to be subjected to a local lockdown (Joe Giddens/PA)

The PM's comments come after Leicester recorded 866 new cases of coronavirus in the last two weeks – leading to speculation over the weekend that the city would be locked down.

City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby told LBC he was "angry and frustrated" that a meeting with Government officials scheduled for 9am on Monday had been cancelled.

He said a document sent to him by the Government at around 1am had "very little substance" and only suggested that restrictions due to be lifted for the rest of the country on July 4 should remain in place for Leicester for an extra two weeks.

He said there was "incredible frustration" in getting figures out of the Government "after weeks of asking", adding that some officials had visited Leicester, "talked to a few people" and had then "cobbled together" a report.

He also told BBC Radio 4's Today programme of his anger, saying: "It was only last Thursday that we finally got some of the data we need but we're still not getting all of it and it was only at 1.04am that the recommendations for Leicester arrived in my inbox.

"What they're suggesting is not a return to lockdown, it seems that what they're suggesting is that we continue the present level of restriction for a further two weeks beyond July 4.

"I've looked at this report and frankly it's obviously been cobbled together very hastily.

"It's superficial and its description of Leicester is inaccurate and certainly it does not provide us with the information we need if we are to remain restricted for two weeks longer than the rest of the country."

Leicester public health director Ivan Browne was also critical about the level of information given to the city to tackle the outbreak.

He told the Today programme: "I don't think at the moment we're seeing a single cause or a single smoking gun on this, so we need really try to dig down and find out what is going on and it's likely to be a combination of factors.

"Information has been challenging all the way through this."

Labour MP for Leicester East, Claudia Webbe, said she believes a local lockdown is necessary for her constituency due to risk factors for coroanvirus including poverty and "significant levels of African and Asian minority ethnic communities".

On Sunday, Home Secretary Priti Patel, in interviews with broadcasters, appeared to confirm Leicester would be locked down.

But Jonathan Ashworth, Labour's shadow health secretary and Leicester South MP, said Ms Patel had "got slightly in a muddle" about a possible lockdown.

He said he had spoken to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, adding: "I don't believe a local lockdown in Leicester is about to be proposed."

It comes as restrictions are being eased elsewhere in the UK, with parks and shops with outdoor entrances able to reopen in Scotland, and schools in Wales welcoming more pupils.

The Welsh Government said schools will operate with staggered starts and breaks for "check-in, catch-up and prepare" sessions starting on Monday.

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