British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday he was “reconciled” to the prospect of putting tougher restrictions into place to halt the ‘spiralling’ novel coronavirus cases, AFP reported.

“It may be that we need to do things in the next few weeks that will be tougher in many parts of the country,” Johnson told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show, as per AFP reports.

“I’m fully, fully reconciled to that,” he added.

Britain recorded 57,725 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Saturday, breaking its own record for highest cases in a day. Health officials worry that these rapidly increasing numbers could overwhelm hospitals, at at time when they are already pressed for capacity.

As authorities debate whether to open schools in this scenario, Johnson reportedly told parents of young children that they should “absolutely” send them to schools when they reopen after the Christmas break.

“I understand people’s frustrations, I understand people’s anxieties but there is no doubt in my mind that schools are safe and that education is a priority. We’ve really fought very hard throughout this pandemic across the country to keep schools open,” he said, as per AFP reports.

“We agree with everybody that school is the best place for children, we just want to do that well, we want to make it a sustainable return,” National Association of Head Teachers leader Paul Whiteman told BBC Breakfast television, as per AFP reports, noting that the putting the ‘right mitigations’ in place might require a delay in reopening.

According to Johnson, however, keeping children out of school can result in ‘long term damage’, something that public health experts have talked about.

“There are many factors you have to take into account, particularly depravation in left-behind communities,” he told Marr. “The issue is how can you stop schools being places the virus can circulate. Weekly lateral flow testing in schools I believe can make a huge difference.”