Government could have handled coronavirus ‘differently’, admits PM

Boris Johnson has admitted the Government could have handled the coronavirus outbreak "differently", and said there were gaps in the understanding about the deadly virus during the early stages.

But the Prime Minister denied ministers had been too slow going into lockdown, arguing he "stuck like glue" to the advice of experts.

Speaking to BBC News, Mr Johnson said: "Maybe there were things we could have done differently, and of course there will be time to understand what exactly we could have done, or done differently."

The Conservative Party leader has promised an inquiry into the approach to dealing with Covid-19.

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Boris Johnson visits Scotland
STROMNESS, SCOTLAND - JULY 23: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson chats to Ronnie Norquoy, owner of Celtic Dawn Fishing as crabs caught on the Carvela are brought in, at Stromness Harbour on July 23, 2020 in Stromness, Scotland. This week marks one year as U.K. Prime Minister for Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson. Today he is visiting businesses in the Orkney Islands in Scotland to reaffirm his commitment to supporting all parts of the UK through the Coronavirus pandemic. Later he will visit a military base in Moray to thank Military personnel for their service. (Photo by Robert Perry/Getty Images)
LOSSIEMOUTH, SCOTLAND - JULY 23: Prime Minister Boris Johnson views a Typhon FGR4 at RAF Lossiemouth, Moray, during a visit to the Highlands and Northern Isles of Scotland on July 23, 2020 in Lossiemouth, Scotland. This week marks one year as U.K. Prime Minister for Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson. Today he is visiting businesses in the Orkney Islands in Scotland to reaffirm his commitment to supporting all parts of the UK through the Coronavirus pandemic. Later he will visit a military base in Moray to thank Military personnel for their service. (Photo by Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LOSSIEMOUTH, SCOTLAND - JULY 23: Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits an aircraft hanger at RAF Lossiemouth, Moray, during a visit to the Highlands and Northern Isles of Scotland on July 23, 2020 in Lossiemouth, Scotland. This week marks one year as U.K. Prime Minister for Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson. Today he is visiting businesses in the Orkney Islands in Scotland to reaffirm his commitment to supporting all parts of the UK through the Coronavirus pandemic. Later he will visit a military base in Moray to thank Military personnel for their service. (Photo by Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LOSSIEMOUTH, SCOTLAND - JULY 23: Prime Minister Boris Johnson wears a face mask as he speaks with families in the community centre at RAF Lossiemouth, Moray, during a visit to the Highlands and Northern Isles of Scotland on July 23, 2020 in Lossiemouth, Scotland. This week marks one year as U.K. Prime Minister for Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson. Today he is visiting businesses in the Orkney Islands in Scotland to reaffirm his commitment to supporting all parts of the UK through the Coronavirus pandemic. Later he will visit a military base in Moray to thank Military personnel for their service. (Photo by Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LOSSIEMOUTH, SCOTLAND - JULY 23: Prime Minister Boris Johnson wears a face mask as he speaks with families in the community centre at RAF Lossiemouth, Moray, during a visit to the Highlands and Northern Isles of Scotland on July 23, 2020 in Lossiemouth, Scotland. This week marks one year as U.K. Prime Minister for Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson. Today he is visiting businesses in the Orkney Islands in Scotland to reaffirm his commitment to supporting all parts of the UK through the Coronavirus pandemic. Later he will visit a military base in Moray to thank Military personnel for their service. (Photo by Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LOSSIEMOUTH, SCOTLAND - JULY 23: Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to help himself to a Tunnock's teacake whilst meeting families at the community centre at RAF Lossiemouth, Moray, during a visit to the Highlands and Northern Isles of Scotland on July 23, 2020 in Lossiemouth, Scotland. This week marks one year as U.K. Prime Minister for Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson. Today he is visiting businesses in the Orkney Islands in Scotland to reaffirm his commitment to supporting all parts of the UK through the Coronavirus pandemic. Later he will visit a military base in Moray to thank Military personnel for their service. (Photo by Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson is seen alongside a Spitfire at RAF Lossiemouth, north-east Scotland, on July 23, 2020 during a visit to the Highlands and Northern Isles of Scotland. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on July 23 rejected calls for a second referendum on Scottish independence, despite an apparent surge in support for a breakaway. (Photo by Andrew Milligan / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW MILLIGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
STROMNESS, SCOTLAND - JULY 23: A group of demonstrators gather to greet British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he visits the Orkney Islands on July 23, 2020 in Stromness, Scotland. This week marks one year as U.K. Prime Minister for Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson. Today he is visiting businesses in the Orkney Islands in Scotland to reaffirm his commitment to supporting all parts of the UK through the Coronavirus pandemic. Later he will visit a military base in Moray to thank Military personnel for their service. (Photo by Robert Perry/Getty Images)
STROMNESS, SCOTLAND - JULY 23: A group of demonstrators gather to greet British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he visits the Orkney Islands on July 23, 2020 in Stromness, Scotland. This week marks one year as U.K. Prime Minister for Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson. Today he is visiting businesses in the Orkney Islands in Scotland to reaffirm his commitment to supporting all parts of the UK through the Coronavirus pandemic. Later he will visit a military base in Moray to thank Military personnel for their service. (Photo by Robert Perry/Getty Images)
KIRKWALL, SCOTLAND - JULY 23: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to Orkney Cheese on July 23, 2020 in Kirkwall, Scotland. This week marks one year as U.K. Prime Minister for Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson. Today he is visiting businesses in the Orkney Islands in Scotland to reaffirm his commitment to supporting all parts of the UK through the Coronavirus pandemic. Later he will visit a military base in Moray to thank Military personnel for their service. (Photo by Robert Perry/Getty Images)
STROMNESS, SCOTLAND - JULY 23: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to Stromness Harbour on July 23, 2020 in Stromness, Scotland. This week marks one year as U.K. Prime Minister for Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson. Today he is visiting businesses in the Orkney Islands in Scotland to reaffirm his commitment to supporting all parts of the UK through the Coronavirus pandemic. Later he will visit a military base in Moray to thank Military personnel for their service. (Photo by Robert Perry/Getty Images)
STROMNESS, SCOTLAND - JULY 23: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds crabs caught on the Carvela with Karl Adamson at Stromness Harbour on July 23, 2020 in Stromness, Scotland. This week marks one year as U.K. Prime Minister for Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson. Today he is visiting businesses in the Orkney Islands in Scotland to reaffirm his commitment to supporting all parts of the UK through the Coronavirus pandemic. Later he will visit a military base in Moray to thank Military personnel for their service. (Photo by Robert Perry - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
STROMNESS, SCOTLAND - JULY 23: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (C) and Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack (L), speak to Karl Adamson as they look at crabs caught on the Carvela at Stromness Harbour on July 23, 2020 in Stromness, Scotland. This week marks one year as U.K. Prime Minister for Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson. Today he is visiting businesses in the Orkney Islands in Scotland to reaffirm his commitment to supporting all parts of the UK through the Coronavirus pandemic. Later he will visit a military base in Moray to thank Military personnel for their service. (Photo by Robert Perry - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
STROMNESS, SCOTLAND - JULY 23: A group of demonstrators gather to greet British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he visits the Orkney Islands on July 23, 2020 in Stromness, Scotland. This week marks one year as U.K. Prime Minister for Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson. Today he is visiting businesses in the Orkney Islands in Scotland to reaffirm his commitment to supporting all parts of the UK through the Coronavirus pandemic. Later he will visit a military base in Moray to thank Military personnel for their service. (Photo by Robert Perry/Getty Images)
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During the interview on Friday, he said there would be a time for questions about the UK's death rate, with more than 50,000 people thought to have died after testing positive for the virus.

"We didn't understand (the virus) in the way that we would have liked in the first few weeks and months," he added.

"And I think probably, the single thing that we didn't see at the beginning was the extent to which it was being transmitted asymptomatically from person to person.

"I think it's fair to say that there are things that we need to learn about how we handled it in the early stages... there will be plenty of opportunities to learn the lessons of what happened."

When pressed on whether he had been too slow to lock the country down and hand out distancing advice, Mr Johnson denied there had been delay.

"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," he said.

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