Couples are calling for online weddings to take place during the coronavirus lockdown

There are calls for the government to let people marry via Zoom (Getty Images)

The lockdown saw all weddings banned by the government in an effort to contain the coronavirus.

This has had a devastating impact on couples who are keen to wed due to financial reasons or to ensure their right to remain in the UK.

With no sign of ceremonies resuming any time soon, campaigners are calling for the government to allow digital civil partnership or wedding ceremonies.

There are suggestions that register offices could conduct legal formalities online via video call services such as Zoom.

Read more: Ellie Goulding surprises nurse on her 'virtual' wedding day by singing along to first dance

The Sunday Times report that a change.org petition has been launched to force an alteration in the law.

Martin Loat, chairman of the Equal Civil Partnerships campaign - which started the petition - told the paper: “New York city has done it.

“The UK authorities must now accept that legal unions can be carried out online, because showing up in person is not possible.

“We have vulnerable couples and NHS and frontline workers desperate to get a legal relationship in place.”

Read more: Weddings and birthday parties among most risky events for spreading coronavirus, say scientists

Couples keen to marry virtually as a matter of urgency include a vet, her family’s breadwinner, who is keen to wed her partner of 17 years before she volunteers with the NHS - to ensure he and their son are provided for should anything happen to her.

Similarly, some need to wed imminently because either the bride or groom’s visa is due to expire and they will be forced to leave the country, while others are prevented by their Christian faith from living together until after they have tied the knot.

In response, the Ministry of Justice said that it “understands the frustration that couples planning a wedding must be feeling” - but they said that primary legislation would be required.

Since the lockdown went into force, there have been an estimated 32,000 wedding and civil partnership ceremonies cancelled in England and Wales.

Read more: Couple forced to cancel dream wedding due to coronavirus tie the knot after kids hold surprise garden ceremony

It has been suggested that eventually - when restrictions are eased - Church of England weddings are likely to take place with the legal minimum of just five people present, including the priest, the bride and groom, and two witnesses.

It comes as experts suggested that big social gatherings - like weddings and birthday parties - may be off the cards for some time.

In a new study, scientists have identified that large family celebrations could turn into “super-spreader events” for coronavirus.

They warned that allowing congregations of ten to 30 people indoors could be enough for just one person carrying the virus to infect ten others.