Downing Street has issued a clarification after Boris Johnson said he would do his best to see his 77-year-old mum on Mother’s Day.
Boris Johnson was asked at his Covid-19 press conference what his advice was to people thinking about visiting their mother on Sunday.
‘I think my advice would be that people should really think very carefully, irrespectively of whether they’re visiting their mother, any elderly person who will be in a vulnerable group,’ he said.
‘Think very carefully about the risk of transmission of the virus and follow the advice.’
Advice to the public includes avoiding all non-essential contact, a measure which is particularly important for the over-70s and others who are most vulnerable to succumb to the infection.
As for whether he would be seeing his own mother, 77-year-old Charlotte Johnson Wahl, the prime minister said he would ‘certainly be sending her my very best wishes and hope to get to see her’, before trailing off.
A Downing Street source later clarified that Johnson’s contact with his mother on Sunday would see him getting no closer to her than a Skype conversation.
Johnson, who comes from a libertarian tradition of promoting an individual’s freedoms, acknowledged the extent of the sacrifice he was asking of the public in trying to reduce the deaths from the coronavirus.
‘I do accept what we are doing is extraordinary – we are taking away the ancient inalienable right of freeborn people of the United Kingdom to go to the pub, and I can understand how people feel about that,’ he said.
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But he issued a stern warning to those who do not comply, which – before pubs were ordered to close – would have included his 79-year-old father Stanley Johnson, who said he would consider still going to the pub despite official advice.
‘You’re not only putting the lives of your family at risk but you’re endangering the community,’ he added.