- Associated Press - Sunday, March 22, 2020

LONDON - Sunday is Mother’s Day in Britain, and the government has a stark message for millions of citizens: A visit to your mother could be life-threatening.

In a message to the nation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson implored Britons to forego family visits and Sunday lunches. He said “we cannot disguise or sugar coat the threat” that “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.”

On Friday, Johnson said that he hoped to see his 77-year-old mother on Mother’s Day. His office later said that he would speak to her on 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 of the virus, including 233 deaths. The government says Britain will be facing a crisis on the scale of Italy’s in two weeks if people do not heed instructions to stay home and avoid contact with others.

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