More than 10 months after church services were suspended, Mizoram has decided to reopen place of worship with limited attendees from February following the dip in novel coronavirus cases in the state.
The state government also decided to reopen schools for students of classes 10 and 12, who are facing board exams, on January 22.
The government on Friday in a meeting attended by concerned ministers, doctors, churches and civil society groups decided that churches would be opened for worship service on every Saturday at noon for Sabbath followers and on every Sunday at 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 Sundays.
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 students of classes 10 and 12, who are 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 will remain closed for students of other classes until further order.
He said that classes 10 and 12 students will sit for their board exams in April and results will 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, further relax the timing of night curfew, and also decided to partly relax SOP for hotels, gymnasiums, shops and business establishments, traffic, and sporting facilities.
Mizoram’s Covid-19 curve showed a downward trend over the last one month between December 15, 2020 and January 14, 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.