Dubai suspends marriages, divorces to curb spread of coronavirus

Move announced as 'measures to prevent spread of the pandemic' after emirate reports 2,659 infections and 12 deaths.

    Following a steep rise in the number of cases, the United Arab Emirates indefinitely extended a curfew on Saturday [Christopher Pike/Bloomberg]
    Following a steep rise in the number of cases, the United Arab Emirates indefinitely extended a curfew on Saturday [Christopher Pike/Bloomberg]

    Marriages and divorces in Dubai have been suspended "until further notice" as a result of the coronavirus.

    The move, announced by the justice department on Wednesday, is among "measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic" rolled out in the Gulf emirate, which has reported 2,659 infections and 12 deaths. 

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    Justice Khaled al-Hawsni of the family court also said on the department's website that couples who have already completed marriage formalities must not organise wedding parties "even among their immediate circles".  

    On Tuesday, the Personal Status Court in Dubai decided to suspend all legal services related to family matters based on Islamic jurisprudence, which holds that “repelling an evil is preferable to securing a benefit", the Arab news reported. 

    Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, has come to a virtual halt, with its famous malls and sprawling hotels shuttered.

    All citizens and residents, other than those in essential services, require a permit to leave their homes.

    Following a steep rise in the number of cases, the UAE indefinitely extended a curfew on Saturday that was enforced on March 26 to allow for a nationwide disinfection.

    On Monday, UAE carriers Emirates and Etihad Airways resumed limited passenger flights, two weeks after authorities grounded aeroplanes as part of wider shutdowns to combat the coronavirus.

    The flights are open to foreign citizens who wish to leave the UAE, but no incoming passengers are allowed. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies