THE UK will look back at its Covid-19 response "like the Olympics" and be "extremely proud", a minister has claimed.

Health minister Lord Bethell, a hereditary peer, was asked at a Conservative Party conference fringe event where the UK would rank in the world in terms of its response to the pandemic.

Responding during the virtual talk run by the Centre for Policy Studies think tank, he said: "I think there have been some outstanding pieces of delivery that have not been fully appreciated.

"And I think it will be like the Olympics, that's when it's all over and we look back and reflect, we will actually be extremely proud of ourselves."

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However, Bethell admitted the Government did not have a list of all the care homes in the UK early in the crisis and failed to anticipate a surge in demand for Covid-19 tests when children returned to schools en masse in September.

He said: "There have been times when we've struggled to even have the list of all the 15,000 social care sites in the UK.

"And having a highly dispersed, complex and multifarious social care system has benefits but when it's come to an epidemic like this it has also shown there are some weaknesses.

"And the Prime Minister and the Government have been crystal clear that this is something that's on the horizon to fix and it's really made that a big priority."

He added: "I think that the return to schools did catch us on the hop and there was a very understandable concern by both schools and then parents about getting kids tested.

"That has settled down dramatically and we're very determined to keep the schools open.”

The hereditary peer was in the news last month after he told students who felt cheated by the exam results fiasco not to worry as "fluffing" his own exams had taught him how to "hustle".

The baron, who attended Harrow, said: "I fluffed my A-levels. Taught me how to hustle. First to get a place in University. And haven’t stopped ever since."

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has been condemned as "out of touch" after he told Tories that the coronavirus crisis represented a "massive opportunity" to change the country.

The Prime Minister told Conservative members at the party's online conference that the pandemic had highlighted productivity issues in the UK but also how to "short circuit" them to get things done faster.

Johnson said he wanted to win the public's support for a tax-cutting agenda in the wake of the crisis.

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In comments reported by the Daily Mirror, Johnson said: "We have a massive opportunity now to use this unquestionable crisis, I mean it's been a huge thing for our country, to build back better."

Johnson defended the decision to end the furlough scheme at the end of the month, a move which has prompted concerns about a sharp rise in unemployment.

"On the Left, there are forces saying we must keep furlough going forever, we must keep paying people, the state must get bigger and bigger," he said.

"And it will be up to us to say it is not for the state to pre-empt virtually half the wealth and spend it on behalf of people because that is not the government's job."

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said: "It shows how out of touch the Prime Minister is that he would see this crisis as an opportunity to accelerate a Tory approach that has held our country back.

"We cannot let Boris Johnson take us back to 1980s-style levels of unemployment, and forcing people on the lowest incomes in the North and the Midlands to pay the highest price."