BORIS Johnson has warned of a “tough winter” ahead as the UK continues to battle the coronavirus, though the Prime Minister has also admitted that the Eat Out to Help Out scheme likely spurred a spike in covid cases. 

Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, the Tory leader said he took “full responsibility for everything that's happened since the pandemic began of course.”

He said the government had been trying to “strike a balance” between public safety and kickstarting the country's pandemic battered economy.

Johnson said: "We had to go into lockdown in March and April and that was effective in bringing the virus down.

"I think it was right to reopen the economy. I think if we hadn't done that, if we hadn't got things moving again in the summer, I mean we would be looking at many more hundreds of thousands of jobs lost."

When Marr suggested that Eat Out to Help Out had spread the virus, Johnson told the host: "I also think, I also think that it is important now, irrespective of whether Eat Out to Help Out you know, what the balance of there was, it unquestionably helped to protect many... there are two million jobs at least in the hospitality sector.

"It was very important to keep those jobs going. Now, if it, insofar as that scheme may have helped to spread the virus, then obviously we need to counteract that and we need to counteract that with the discipline and the measures that we're proposing.

"I hope you understand the balance we're trying to strike."

Last week Nicola Sturgeon was criticised by the Tories over Eat Out to Help Out after she suggested that it would "have been better if it hadn't happened".

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said there will be "bumpy" months ahead.

He said people should behave "fearlessly" but with common sense.

Johnson said: "If you ask me 'do I think things can be significantly different by Christmas?' Yes I do, and we're working flat-out to achieve that.

"But be in no doubt that it is still very possible that there are bumpy, bumpy months ahead.

"This could be a very tough winter for all of us - we've got to face that fact."

Johnson suggested the picture could be "radically different" by spring 2021.

The Prime Minister said new treatments are now available, adding: "We will find all sorts of ways, I'm absolutely sure, particularly through mass testing programmes, of changing the way that we tackle this virus."

He was asked to provide hard scientific evidence for the 10pm curfew.

The measure has been described as arbitrary by the hospitality industry, and both the UK and Scottish Government have been repeatedly asked to explain the rationale behind it. 

The Prime Minister told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: "Well the scientific evidence is of course that the virus is transmitted by person-to-person contact.

"Yes it's transmitted in homes, it's transmitted between people, but it's also transmitted in what they call the hospitality sectors, it's transmitted in pubs and bars and restaurants, particularly as people get more convivial as the evening goes on."

He added: "One of the things that has been put to us is that by curtailing the hours you can reduce the transmission."

Johnson said people "just need to follow the guidance", adding: "Obviously it makes no sense if, having followed the guidance for all the time in the pub, they then pour out into the street and hobnob in such a way as to spread the virus."

He added: "The answer is for all of us to follow the guidance."