LIVING in close quarters for weeks in coronavirus self isolation will lead to divorces, a celebrity lawyer has warned today.
Couples confined together for long periods may emerge from the crisis with a separation on their hands, thinks Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia.
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
She has represented many wealthy and high profile clients, including Sir Paul McCartney, Princess Haya, Prince Charles and Madonna.
The divorce lawyer, nicknamed "Steel Magnolia", spoke in the House of Lords: "Our peak times are after long exposure during the summer holidays and over Christmas.
"One only has to imagine what it's going to be like when families are sealed in a property for a long period of time.
"The prediction amongst divorce lawyers is that following self-imposed confinement it is very likely that the divorce rate will rise."
It comes after more than 300 couples have booked in to get a divorce in Dazhou, Sichuan Province of south-western China.
Register offices revealed divorce rates in China have risen while the country has been on lockdown to tackle coronavirus.
It is thought there is a direct link between partners being forced to spend too much time in confined space.
Lu Shijun, manager of a marriage registry there, said: "The divorce rate has soared compared to before.
"Young people are spending a lot of time in home. They tend to get into heated arguments because of something petty and rush into a divorce."
Tap to see where COVID-19 is near you
On Monday Boris Johnson warned the nation to avoid pubs, theatres, restaurants and all social gatherings, he announced that more extreme measures are on the way in the coming days.
For now Brits have been asked to stay at home and work from there where possible, avoid socialising and mingling in crowds.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s chief scientific adviser, told MPs the latest lockdown would keep the death toll below 20,000.
He said: “But that’s still horrible. It’s still an enormous number of deaths.”
The death toll in Britain hit 71 yesterday — with 12 new fatalities, including the youngest victim yet, a 45-year-old man.
And yesterday Chancellor Rishi Sunak wrote a £350billion cheque to keep families and businesses afloat during the coronavirus crisis and pledged: "We will do whatever it takes."
His people’s bailout will be the biggest rescue package in peacetime.
Apart from mortgage breaks, it will provide loans of up to £25,000 and a year’s relief from business rates for shops, pubs and restaurants and millions more for bigger businesses.
Billions of pounds will also be pumped into the NHS.
Throughout the press conference Mr Sunak repeated the mantra “We will do whatever it takes” in an attempt to calm a worried nation on the brink of ruin.
He said: “We have never in peacetime faced an economic fight like this one. This Government will give you all the tools you need to get through this.
“To support jobs, incomes and business — and help you support your loved ones. We are well prepared. We will get through this.”
CORONAVIRUS CRISIS – BE IN THE KNOW
Get the latest coronavirus news, facts and figures from around the world – plus essential advice for you and your family.
To receive our Covid-19 newsletter in your inbox every tea time, sign up here.
To follow us on Facebook, simply 'Like' our Coronavirus page.
Meanwhile, Boris again refused to rule out shutting schools in future — after 650,000 Brits signed a petition urging him to do it now.
Medical experts think it will have a huge impact on key NHS workers who will not be able to go into work, causing even more pressure on the struggling health service.
The PM said: “I understand completely where people are at with that, we’re keeping it under continuous review.”