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Mizoram will shut the school for students of classes 1 to  9 and class 11 following a spurt in COVID-19 cases and the potential threat of the spread of highly transmissible ‘Omicron’  variant in the state.

The new COVID-19 guidelines issued on Friday said that schools and hostels for students of classes 1 to 9 and also class 11 will remain closed in both the Aizawl Municipal Corporation (AMC) area and other parts of the state.

Classes for such students will be conducted in online mode, it said.

Classes in all Colleges and Institutes of higher education or Universities will also be conducted in online mode, it said.

However, schools and hostels will continue to remain open for students of classes 10 and 12, who are appearing for their board examination this year, it said.

The school education department will ensure full vaccination of teachers and other school officials on duty, it said.

Training institutes are allowed to remain open with 50 per cent seating capacity.

While schools and hostels for classes 1 to 9 and 11 have remained shut in AMC area since April last year, they have been re-opened outside AMC area since August 15 last year.

Colleges have also been re-opened outside AMC area since September last year.

The new guidelines, which will remain in force from January 8 (Saturday) to January 31, now prohibit worship service in churches during night time and allowed only during daytime with 50 per cent seating capacity in all parts of the state.

Congregational or mass singing in churches and public gatherings will continue to be prohibited, it said.

Among others, picnic spots, movie theatres public parks, swimming pools, gymnasiums and beauty parlours will be closed in AMC area, the guidelines said.

As regard commercial activities, Deputy Commissioners in consultation with the Local Level Task Force (LLTF) or Village Level Task Force (VLTF) and Market Association leaders will make arrangements for the opening of markets and shops in a staggered manner in the AMC area and other parts of the state, it said.

In the AMC area, Group A & B officers and their staff will attend office with full strength, while only 50 per cent of Group C & D staff will attend the office and the remaining 50 per cent will work from home.

Persons with disabilities and pregnant women employees are exempted from attending offices but are required to work from home.

Public interview for ministers has been suspended from now until further order, the guidelines said.

Mizoram on Friday reported 579 new COVID-19 cases, taking the state’s tally to 1,43,772, an  official said.

The death toll rose to 555 as one more person succumbed to the infection, he said.

The number of active cases now stands at 2,767, while 250 people have recovered on Friday, taking the total recoveries to 1,40,450, he said.

The northeastern state has so far tested 15.26 lakh samples for COVID-19 and out of this 5,959 samples were tested on Thursday.

According to state immunization officer Dr. Lalzawmi, over 7.37 lakh people, including 6,228 children, have been vaccinated by Thursday.

Of the total 7.37 lakh people, 5.92 lakh have received the full dose, she said.

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