Boris Johnson has urged MPs to back the “rule of six” measures aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus ahead of a Commons vote.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the ban on more than six people mixing was a “sensible and helpful” measure.
There has been mounting unease within Tory ranks about restrictions on people’s liberties and Mr Johnson has acknowledged some people are “furious” with the Government.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “You have heard him talk a lot in recent days about the steps that we have had to take.
“You’ve heard the PM say – as he did yesterday – that he understands some of the frustrations that people have.
“But as the Prime Minister he has to take a course of action that prevents the further spread of the virus and therefore protects the NHS and protects lives.
“What we are seeking to do is get the right balance between protecting lives and livelihoods, which is why we are also trying to keep as much of the economy moving as we can.”
MPs will vote on Tuesday on the regulations which enforce the rule of six in England in order to allow them to continue.
The spokesman said: “Parliament has supported the measures which we have put in place so far in the fight against coronavirus and we would urge MPs to continue to do so.”
Mr Johnson suggested that it would soon become apparent whether the tougher measures introduced in recent weeks were helping to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The Prime Minister told reporters: “The crucial thing is that in the next few days, week, we’ll see more clearly whether some of the restrictions that we put in – the extra enforcement of the rule of six, the extra enforcement of self-isolation, the rules on masks and so on – all the stuff that has come in, we’ll see whether that starts to work in driving down the virus.”
If people followed the guidance “I have no doubt that we will be able to get on top of it, as indeed we did earlier this year”, he added.