Mother's Day should be spent apart for grown-ups and their older mums in light of the coronavirus crisis, Boris Johnson has warned.
The Prime Minister added that the best gift we could actually give our mothers is to stay away and protect them from potential risk of infection.
He advised: "This time the best thing is to ring her, video call her, Skype her, but to avoid any unnecessary physical contact or proximity.
"And why? Because 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, or Covid-19.
"We cannot disguise or sugar coat the threat."
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His advice this weekend goes against what he appeared to be planning for his own mum on Friday.
When asked what he would be doing, the PM said he would "certainly be sending my very best wishes and hope to get to see her…" before his words trailed off.
A Downing Street source later clarified that Boris would be speaking to his 77-year-old mum, Charlotte Johnson Wahl, by Skype.
We cannot disguise or sugar coat the threat.
Coronavirus warning letters from the NHS for the most vulnerable
Meanwhile, ministers urged the 1.5 million people in England considered to be most at risk to begin ‘shielding’ themselves by remaining home.
Those people this applies to should expect to receive a letter next week strongly advising them not to go out for at least 12 weeks from Monday.
Letters from NHS England will go out this week to those concerned, strongly advising them not to go out for at least 12 weeks from Monday.
Boris said of the growing cases of coronavirus: "The numbers are very stark, and they are accelerating.
"The Italians have a superb health care system. And yet their doctors and nurses have been completely overwhelmed by the demand.
"The Italian death toll is already in the thousands and climbing. Unless we act together, unless we make the heroic and collective national effort to slow the spread - then it is all too likely that our own NHS will be similarly overwhelmed."
He said the UK is only "two or three" weeks behind Italy, adding the measures the government is now imposing are essential.
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