China's divorce rates rise as couples emerge from coronavirus quarantine

Not everyone is feeling the love while stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

In China, where the COVID-19 outbreak first began, divorce rates are rising after couples were forced into mandatory lockdown together to prevent the virus’ spread.

Divorce filings started to rise in the country as couples began to emerge from quarantine.


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According to reports from Miluo, a city in Hunan province, in mid-March, “staff members even have time to drink water” because so many people were lined up to file for divorce.

“On March 16, we went through 18 pairs of divorce registration procedures and obviously felt that the number of divorces had surged in the near future,” Yi Xiaoyan, director of the city’s marriage registration centre, told reporters.

Since Feb. 10, the number of divorce registrations in the city has reached 206, compared to 311 marriages.

“It takes 40 minutes to one hour to complete a divorce procedure, and sometimes staff members don’t even have time to drink water,” reads the city government’s website.

Chinese cities like Xi’an and Dazhou have also recorded record-high numbers of divorce filings, according to Bloomberg.

Steve Li, a Shanghai divorce lawyer at Gentle and Trust Law Firm, says his caseload has seen a 25 per cent increase, Bloomberg reports.


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While infidelity used to be the main reason for divorce, now it’s a lack of space.

“The more time they spent together, the more they hate each other,” Li told the publication. “People need space. Not just for couples. This applies to everybody.”

One reason divorce rates have likely risen is due to delayed requests thanks to the novel coronavirus, given offices were closed during the quarantine period, the Global Times reports.

A spokesperson, only identified by their surname Han, told Global Times that some couples decided to remarry within hours.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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