Boris Johnson has urged the British public not to visit their parents on Mother’s Day as he warned that the NHS was in danger of being “overwhelmed” by the coronavirus outbreak.
The prime minister suggested families “avoid any unnecessary physical contact” and try to protect their loved ones by speaking over the phone or online instead.
It comes as Mr Johnson warns the nation is ”only a matter of weeks – two or three – behind Italy”, where officials reported 793 deaths across a 24 hour period on Saturday to bring the total to more than 4,800.
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“If your mother is elderly or vulnerable, then I am afraid all the statistics show that she is much more likely to die,” he said. “We cannot disguise or sugar-coat the threat.”
Having already ordered the closure of all pubs, restaurants, cinemas and theatres, Mr Johnson said the growing number of restrictions on daily life were essential to slow down the spread of the virus.
“The numbers are very stark, and they are accelerating,” he said. ”The Italians have a superb health care system. And yet their doctors and nurses have been completely overwhelmed by the demand.