March 16, 2020
Divorce Rates Spike In China As Couples Are Spending Too Much Time Together In Quarantine, Official Says

Divorce rates in China are seeing a sharp rise as couples are "spending too much time together" while in quarantine from the coronavirus, a marriage official in the hard-hit country says.

As the Daily Mail noted, the rates of divorce have spiked while the country is dealing with the effects of the fast-moving virus and the effects it has had on society. Lu Shijun, the manager of a marriage registry in Dazhou -- a province in the southwestern area of China -- said this week that the stress of the pandemic is starting to take its toll on marriages.

"The divorce rate [in the district] has soared compared to before [the coronavirus outbreak]," Lu told members of the local press this week. "Young people are spending a lot of time at home. They tend to get into heated arguments because of something petty and rush into getting a divorce."

Lu said there could be other factors in the sudden spike in divorces, noting that some people who had been planning to file for divorce may have delayed their applications during the coronavirus pandemic and now are doing so with some quarantine measures being lifted. But the report pointed out that the quarantines from coronavirus are seen by local officials as the driving force behind the rise in divorces.

CNN added that one district office reported receiving 14 divorce requests in one day, reaching the limit set by a local council. Another office had to increase the number of divorce appointments allotted per day due to what it called the "overwhelming amount of requests."

While the spread of the coronavirus has been slowed in some of the hardest-hit areas in China, reports say that both the health and societal effects will continue to be felt for some time. As CNN reported, experts are predicting that the nation's economy still has plenty of volatility ahead. The outlet noted that China's economic contraction was the biggest in close to 50 years and that the unemployment rate is expected to keep climbing as many businesses were forced to shut down for extended periods.

"This is not the end of the nightmare," said Iris Pang, chief Greater China economist for ING.

It was not clear yet how much longer the quarantine measures would continue in China, but some areas have already seen people going back to work and had some semblance of normalcy return, including the re-opening of stores and schools.