Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 6 June 2020

White dress and matching mask: Palestinians brave virus to wed

'The conditions and the spread of the virus meant we had to marry without guests and without anyone except my family and the brides family

A wedding in the West Bank on Friday had a twist on a familiar scene: the bride wore a long white dress, but with a matching mask and gloves to protect her from the coronavirus.

As the Covid-19 illness sweeps the globe, public events have been cancelled in droves, including many weddings. Those seeking to plough ahead with their nuptials have had to radically rethink their plans.

Baraa Amarneh and her fiance, Imad Sharaf, decided to carry on with their wedding, despite the bride coming from Bethlehem, the epicentre of the West Bank’s outbreak.

Almost all of the 48 Covid-19 cases among Palestinians have been in or near the town.

The couple’s wedding had been planned months in advance.

Their ceremony was supposed to include dozens of guests, but in the end, the bride and groom were flanked by only a few family members each, standing at a safe distance.

“The conditions and the spread of the virus meant we had to marry without guests and without anyone except my family and the bride’s family,” Sharaf said.

As Amarneh has left the locked-down area and is therefore considered at risk of having contracted the disease, both must now self-isolate for 14 days.

Sharaf said that wouldn’t be a problem, treating it as a staycation honeymoon.

“We are talking about 14 days. I would stay in quarantine with my wife a month or more.”

The town of Bethlehem has been under lockdown, with no one allowed in or out without a permit, for more than two weeks.

Sharaf, 25, who comes from a village near Hebron, about 20 kilometres south of Bethlehem, had to acquire special government permission to enter the city to pick Amarneh up and take her to his home town for the wedding on Friday.

Updated: March 22, 2020 11:48 AM

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