Sunday was Mother’s Day in Britain and the government had a stark message for millions of citizens: visiting your mom could kill her.
In a message to the nation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson implored Britons to forget about this tradional day of celebration, AP reported.
“If your mother is elderly or vulnerable, then I am afraid all the statistics show that she is much more likely to die from coronavirus,” he said.
“This time, the best thing is to ring her, video call her, Skype her, but to avoid any unnecessary physical contact or proximity.”
Britain is struggling to respect social distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, as Johnson has been accused of sending mixed messages, AP added.
On Friday, he said he hoped to see his 77-year-old mother on Mother’s Day.
His office later said he would speak to her by Skype.
Yet, people have found creative ways to stay in touch, AP reported. Some sons and daughters left Mother’s Day bouquets on doorsteps.
Other families planned to sit down for a meal at the same time but in different homes, linked by FaceTime or Skype.
The U.K. government is scrambling to toughen its response to the coronavirus outbreak amid criticism it did not act quickly enough to close schools, pubs and restaurants.
Britain has 5,018 confirmed cases and 233 deaths but is following a similar contagion path to hard-hit Italy, which now has the most virus deaths in the world at 4,825.
The British government has told up to 1.5 million sick and elderly people considered the most vulnerable to stay home for at least 12 weeks to avoid getting infected.