Meeting of concerned ministers, various departments, doctors, churches and civil society groups presided over by health minister Dr R Lalthangliana on Friday

Aizawl: More than 10 months after church services were suspended, Mizoram has decided to partially open places of worship with limited attendees from February following the dip in novel coronavirus cases in the state.

The state government also decided to open schools for Class 10 and 12 students, who are facing board exams, on January 22.

The meeting of concerned ministers, various departments, doctors, churches and civil society groups presided over by health minister Dr R. Lalthangliana, on Friday, decided that churches would open for worship service Saturday noon for Sabbath follower churches, and every Sunday noon for other denominations.

However, only 200 attendees or 50 per cent of sitting capacity, whichever is less, will be allowed as per the existing Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the meeting said.

Church service would not be held on other days.

In Mizoram, normally worship services are held thrice on Sabbaths (Saturday) and Sunday.

Churches have been closed in Mizoram since March 22 last year to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The meeting reviewed the present COVID-19 scenario in the state and observed that COVID-19 protocols could be relaxed to some extent as the state’s Covid-19 curve showed a downward trend and that inoculation drive will begin on Saturday.

The meeting decided to open regular classes for Class 10 and 12 students, appearing for board exams in April, from January 22.

They will also be allowed to stay at hostels for preparation.

However, students will have to clear the Rapid Antigen Test before going to school.

State school education department director James Lalrinchhana said that schools would remain closed for other students until further order.

He said that Class 10 and 12 students would sit for their board exams in April, and results would be declared in June.

The Friday meeting also agreed to revamp swab sample testing and quarantine protocols for people who returned to the state from outside.

Among others, the meeting decided to further raise the number of attendees in funerals and weddings. Night curfew timings were relaxed, so were the SOPs for hotels, gymnasiums, shops and business establishments, traffic, and sporting facilities.

Mizoram’s Covid-19 curve showed a downward trend over the last month between 15 December 15, 2020, and 14 January 2021, during which only 264 cases were reported.

Of the 267 Covid-19 infected patients, 137 (51.31%) have travel history, and 45 were security personnel.

The state on Friday did not report any Covid-19 cases.

The total Covid-19 cases now stand at 4,310, of which 96 are active, while 4,205 people have recovered from the virus.

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