Boris Johnson had reflected today with cabinet ministers on what had been “a very dark and difficult year” for the country.
Johnson will address the nation later today to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives throughout the pandemic.
A Number 10 spokesman said, “The PM said that we mourn all those we have lost and send our deepest sympathies to their families, friends and loved ones.
“The PM said the last year had also shown the great strengths of the British public, which had demonstrated such resilience and fortitude and had shown such willingness to work together for a common good.
“The PM and cabinet paid tribute to the extraordinary service of everyone in the NHS, social care and in the public sector over the past year, along with all those who had kept the country going – from bus drivers to shop workers.
“The PM said the ability of British scientists to respond to the pandemic had been incredible.
“He said that, if asked last March, he would not have believed it would have been possible to have developed a vaccine and delivered it to half of the UK adult population within 12 months.
“The PM said this was an absolutely astonishing achievement, which is a tribute to British science but also to British business.”