BORIS Johnson threatened to shut down open spaces today as thousands of people flouted official advice to keep their distance to slow the spread of coronavirus over the weekend.

The Prime Minister said there was "no doubt" he would act if people continued to act foolishly and refused to take the threat posed by the pandemic seriously, as the UK death toll rose by 48 in just 24 hours to 281 people.

It came amid appalling scenes as Britons across the UK flocked to beaches and parks up and down the country to take a stroll with their loved ones for Mother's Day, despite social distancing advice from the government surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

The surge in cases of the virus comes on the day Boris Johnson urged families to stay apart and instead celebrate Mother's Day via Skype and other remote communications.

But in a tough message to the public from Downing Street this afternoon, Mr Johnson said: "Even if you think you are personally invulnerable, there are plenty of people you can infect.

"Take this advice seriously. Follow it. Because it is absolutely crucial.

"We will keep the implementation of these measures under review… and of course we will bring forward further measures if it is necessary."