British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is working flat-out to make Christmas as normal as possible but he warns of a "tough winter" in the battle against coronavirus.
In a BBC interview to coincide with the Conservative Party conference, he said there would be "bumpy" months ahead, though he hoped the situation would be "radically different" by spring.
He said people should behave "fearlessly" but with common sense as the UK struggles to contain the virus and keep the economy going.
The prime minister said new treatments were now available, adding: "We will find all sorts of ways, I'm absolutely sure, particularly through mass testing programs, of changing the way that we tackle this virus."
But he acknowledged the existing NHS Test and Trace service was not perfect.
Just 38.1 per cent of people tested for COVID-19 in England in the week ending September 23 at a regional site, local site or mobile testing unit received their result within the 24-hour target set by the Johnson.
But he stressed he did not blame NHS Test and Trace, adding: "I take full responsibility for the service, by international comparators it is really very, very good indeed."
Johnson acknowledged people were "furious" with him and his government over the handling of the pandemic while defending the 10pm curfew, which has seen crowded scenes as drinkers and diners leave bars and restaurants at the same time.
"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," the prime minister said.
Britain reported close to 13,000 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, a record daily figure, with the government blaming the jump on a reporting delay and saying the numbers in coming days would include additional cases.
The number of deaths recorded within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test fell to 49 on Saturday from 66 the previous day.