Italy records fewer weddings and more divorces during pandemic

Marriages are becoming increasingly rare in Italy, all the more so during the coronavirus pandemic, official data showed on Thursday. Meanwhile, the number of divorces spiked in 2020.

Italy records fewer weddings and more divorces during pandemic
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In the first quarter of 2020 – when the country was struck by the virus – the number of Italians who tied the knot was down by around 20 per cent year-on-year, national statistics office Istat said.
In the second quarter of last year, when a strict lockdown was in place for most of the time, marriages dropped by 80 per cent and separations and divorces by around 60 per cent.
Lockdown restrictions included a ban on wedding parties.
But marriages were decreasing in Italy even before the country fell victim to the coronavirus. In 2019, Istat registered around 184,000 weddings, down six per cent from 2018 and around 25 per cent fewer than in 2008.
On the contrary, divorces have become more common, mainly thanks to changes in legislation that sped up procedures, Istat said, noting they went up from around 54,300 in 2008 to more than 85,000 in 2019.
The divorce rate in italy increased by 60 percent in 2020, according to Italy's National Divorce Association (l'Associazione nazionale divorzisti italiani

“The requests for separation have increased a lot, mainly due to forced coexistence,” the association's president, family laywer Matteo Santini, told Sky TG24.

In 40 percent of cases, the divorces were due to the fact that lockdown made it more difficult to hide infidelity and “double lives”, lawyers said.

Another 30 percent of separations were due to domestic violence, and the remaining 30 percent were listed as being down to other causes.

“It's one thing to share weekends and evenings but another to share the whole day, with all the problems related to the health emergency: health stress due to illness, lack of work, living with children with difficulties related to distance learning,” Santini said.

“This causes an emotional explosion that leads to the desire for separation and the request for separation.”

There were more than twice as many separations recorded in the north in 2020, with 450 per thousand couples in the north, and 200 in southern Italy.As with many sets of statistics in Italy, there was a marked difference between the north and south of the country.

Italy, where more than 80 percent of people describe themselves as Catholic, has long had one of Europe's lowest divorce rates, with only Ireland, Slovenia, and Malta reporting lower figures.

Divorce numbers in the country however surged in 2015 after the enactment of legislation making it easier and quicker to end failed marriages.

Several Italian studies have confirmed that the pandemic and subsequent economic crisis is having a major impact on families, with national statistics agency Istat finding that Italy's already record-low birth rate was plunging even further due to “the climate of fear and uncertainty and the growing difficulties linked to employment and income generated by recent events.”

Italy has long had the problem of a falling birth rate and an ageing population.

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Covid-19 still causing 1,000 deaths a week in Europe, WHO warns

The World Health Organization's European office warned on Tuesday the risk of Covid-19 has not gone away, saying it was still responsible for nearly 1,000 deaths a week in the region. And the real figure may be much higher.

Covid-19 still causing 1,000 deaths a week in Europe, WHO warns

The global health body on May 5 announced that the Covid-19 pandemic was no longer deemed a “global health emergency.”

“Whilst it may not be a global public health emergency, however, Covid-19 has not gone away,” WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge told reporters.

The WHO’s European region comprises 53 countries, including several in central Asia.

“Close to 1,000 new Covid-19 deaths continue to occur across the region every week, and this is an underestimate due to a drop in countries regularly reporting Covid-19 deaths to WHO,” Kluge added, and urged authorities to ensure vaccination coverage of at least 70 percent for vulnerable groups.

Kluge also said estimates showed that one in 30, or some 36 million people, in the region had experienced so called “long Covid” in the last three years, which “remains a complex condition we still know very little about.”

“Unless we develop comprehensive diagnostics and treatment for long Covid, we will never truly recover from the pandemic,” Kluge said, encouraging more research in the area which he called an under-recognised condition.

Most countries in Europe have dropped all Covid safety restrictions but some face mask rules remain in place in certain countries in places like hospitals.

Although Spain announced this week that face masks will no longer be required in certain healthcare settings, including hospitals and pharmacies, with a couple of exceptions.

Sweden will from July 1st remove some of its remaining Covid recommendations for the public, including advice to stay home and avoid close contact with others if you’re ill or have Covid symptoms.

The health body also urged vigilance in the face of a resurgence of mpox, having recorded 22 new cases across the region in May, and the health impact of heat waves.