Long queue for divorce after outbreak

“LOVE is one reason a couple get married but to split up, there can be dozens of excuses.”

This is a quote I came across in a Chinese comic.

While the frontliners such as doctors and nurses were kept busy containing the Covid-19 outbreak, the laymen who had to stay home had their own challenges too.

For over a month, most Chinese hardly stepped out of their homes, as advised by the government, to stop the spread of the new pneumonia virus.

Some married couples treated the “home quarantine” as their second honeymoon and spent quality time together round the clock.

But for others, it was a nightmare.

Many of them were driven up the wall by their other halves and many relationships barely survived the difficult period.

News about the long wait for couples getting a divorce in Xian became a hot topic on Weibo – the Chinese Twitter – recently.

According to the provincial Registrar of Marriage, appointments for divorce were all fully booked.

“And now, the public need to wait for nearly three weeks for their turn to submit the applications, ” said an officer of the bureau.

He said all appointments at the bureau’s 17 offices were taken up since they reopened for operations on March 2, after a long break in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.

In Dazhou city of southwestern Sichuan province, offices of the Registrar of Marriage were also loaded with divorce application forms.

The bureau’s chief for Tongchuan district, Dai Shijun, said that up till Wednesday, they had processed 122 marriage and 88 divorce applications since opening its doors recently.

“We handled 15 divorce cases on Monday and 16 on Tuesday.

“Those who made appointments for divorce are more than those who want to get married, ” he told Tongchuan Evening News last week.

Dai said there were over 100 couples waiting in line.

He said conflicts and disagreements between couples became more obvious when they spent too much time together.

In a WeChat group comprising Malaysians in Beijing, we were jokingly predicting that there would be an increase in newborns by the end of this year, but none of us mentioned about couples getting divorced because they had spent too much time together.

The netizens, too, were wondering what had caused the relationships to be irreparable and why couldn’t these couples wait until the epidemic was over.

One of the Internet users revealed that simple things like who should cook or wash the dishes could lead to a big fight between her and her husband.

Another netizen wrote that she could not stand her husband, who behaved like an emperor at home.

“Before the outbreak, I could understand that he was very busy at work and neglected the family but now he is so free and yet, he is not helping out with a little housework or taking care of our child, ” she said.

She complained that her husband woke up late in the day, had lunch and then fiddled with his cellphone.

According to the Chinese Civil Affairs Department, over 9.47 million couples tied the knot while more than 4.15 million pairs divorced last year.

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 outbreak has very much been put under control with a continuous drop in confirmed cases and most areas nationwide declared zero new patients.

All the 16 makeshift hospitals in Wuhan city – the epicentre of the outbreak – have been closed.

China has moved to focus on imported cases and economic revival with a series of policies in place to help businesses get back on track.

Medical supplies are back in the market although face masks are still very limited, but at least I do not have to “steal” hand sanitiser any more.

I have to confess that I did it twice. Once I pumped hand sanitiser into my near empty bottle from the dispenser at a fast food outlet and another time at the toilet of a shopping mall.

Forgive me, I just could not find any despite hunting for the item at dozens of supermarkets, convenient stores and pharmacies.

With all the preventive measures in place, I dare say that the country could probably be the safest place now.

The visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Wuhan on Tuesday marked a significant milestone in the nation’s prevention and control of the virus.

Instilling confidence in the people, he said the outbreak would not affect the fundamentals of the country’s steady and long-term economic development, reported the national news agency Xinhua.

Malaysia could perhaps follow some of the measures and the first step is to cancel all crowd activities, close the door or impose a mandatory quarantine for travellers from badly affected areas.

Another thing that worries me is the control of illegal immigrants from neighbouring countries because they are unchecked.

Remember, it only takes one rotten apple to spoil the whole bunch.

I wish that the authorities would beef up their operations, patrolling the coastlines and borders. All the best, Malaysia.

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