Activists stage a protest outside 10 Downing Street against the British government's handling of the COVID-19 outbreak in London, Britain on March 16, 2020.
Hancock said on Sunday that ministers would "listen to all the credible scientists" after coming under criticism for not introducing more stringent measures sooner.
While these steps fell quite short of what other countries have done, Patrick Vallance, the British government's chief scientific adviser, said it is hoped that the approach can build up "herd immunity" to the disease.
"Herd immunity", also called "community immunity" or "herd protection", technically means a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a large part of a population is vaccinated and becomes immune to infections, thereby protecting vulnerable people such as newborns, seniors and those who are too sick to be vaccinated.
The professor questioned the government's herd immunity strategy, brushing off the claim to "just let 60% of the population get it" as ridiculous.
World Health Organization spokeswoman Margaret Harris has also said "action" is needed over "theories" while there is insufficient knowledge of the science of the coronavirus.
"We don't know enough about the science of this virus, it hasn't been in our population for long enough for us to know what it does in immunological terms", Harris told BBC Radio 4. This approach has been criticised by a group of 229 scientists from United Kingdom universities, who said it risks "many more lives than necessary", and called into question by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Herd immunity is not our goal or policy, it's a scientific concept.
His response came after the group of scientists wrote an open letter arguing that "going for "herd immunity" at this point does not seem a viable option, as this will put NHS at an even stronger level of stress, risking many more lives than necessary".
Britain's death toll from the disease almost doubled on Saturday, as health officials announced 10 more people had died, bringing the total number of fatalities to 21.