Speaking in Downing Street, flanked by chief medical officer Chris Whitty and NHS chief executive Simon Stevens, the prime minister also hinted the country would “come together” after lockdown for a memorial event.
He said: “I’m sorry to have to tell you that today the number of deaths recorded from Covid in the UK has surpassed 100,000.
“It’s hard to compute the sorrow contained in that grim statistic: the years of life lost, the family gatherings not attended and for so many relatives the missed chance to even say goodbye.”
He went on to say his government “did everything that we could to minimise suffering and minimise loss of life in this country as a result of the pandemic”.
“And I’m deeply sorry for every life lost,” he said. “What I can say is that the government will continue to do everything we can to minimise life lost as we go forward.”
Johnson also pledged the UK will honour frontline NHS and social care staff, many of whom have lost their lives during the crisis.
He said: “I offer my deepest condolences to everyone who’s lost a loved one: fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and the many grandparents who have been taken.
“To all those who grieve, we make this pledge: that when we come through this crisis we will come together as a nation to remember everyone we lost and to honour the selfless heroism of all those on the front line who gave their lives to save others.”
The PM added he was “deeply sorry”, but his claim that the government “truly did everything we could” is likely to come in for strong criticism.
Professor Neil Ferguson, whose Imperial College London study convinced the PM to back lockdown in March, is among those already openly contradicting Johnson.
Labour deputy leader...