Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday that he was confident that the country could slow the spread of the coronavirus over the next three months through strict measures to reduce social contact.
The government earlier this week asked more people to work from home and avoid public transportation, pubs, clubs, and restaurants to slow infection rates.
The number of deaths in the UK has risen to 144, and the government has presented plans for emergency powers to deal with the spiraling outbreak, including compulsory testing for suspected cases.
But Boris Johnson said he was "absolutely confident" that the situation could be improved depending on "determined, determined, collective action" and more testing and diagnosis.
He said to a press conference: "I think if we look at everything, we can turn the tables in the next 12 weeks … but only if we all take the steps we've outlined.
"This is important. This is how we will reduce the peak," he said.
When asked about his reasoning, he admitted: "I cannot stand here and tell you that we will be on a slope by the end of June. It is possible.
"But I just can't say it's safe. Of course not. We don't know where we are and we don't know how long it will take.
"But what I can say is that this will be finite. We will turn the page and I can see how things will go in the next 12 weeks."
The UK is currently not routinely testing for people with COVID-19 symptoms and instead recommends staying at home to protect the elderly and people with existing health conditions.
According to recent Ministry of Health figures, there were 3,229 confirmed cases, but government scientific advisor Patrick Vallance said a "reasonable" estimate was that 55,000 had the virus.
Boris Johnson said talks were underway to "buy hundreds of thousands" of antibody test kits "as soon as possible" to determine who had already received COVID-19 but was recovering.
"Obviously, it has the potential to fundamentally change the game," he told reporters.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)