Chandigarh:  Schools for Class 10 to 12 in Punjab are all set to open from July 26, with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday announcing further relaxations, including increase in the number of people in indoor gatherings to 150 and outdoors to 300, subject to an upper limit of 50 per cent capacity.

Taking note of the decline in Covid positivity to 0.3 per cent, with reproduction number at 0.75 for Punjab (lower than the national average), he said schools will be allowed to open for classes 10 to 12, but only those teachers and staff, who are fully vaccinated, shall be allowed to be physically present.

Physical presence of the students shall be purely at the consent of the parents and the option of virtual classes shall be continued. An undertaking to this effect shall be submitted to the Deputy Commissioners concerned, he directed.

If the situation remains under control, the remaining classes shall similarly be allowed to open from August 2, the Chief Minister announced, pointing out that the Cambridge University has predicted that the cases shall further decline in the coming weeks.

With respect to social gatherings, he said artistes and musicians shall be allowed at such functions or celebrations in all areas, with adherence to due Covid protocols.

The relaxations came days after the Chief Minister had ordered opening of bars, cinema halls, restaurants, spas, swimming pools, coaching centres, sports complexes, gyms, malls, museums, zoos, etc, at 50 per cent with vaccine compliance.

He had also earlier allowed colleges, coaching centres and all other institutions of higher learning to open with similar compliance.

The Chief Minister, during a virtual review meeting of the Covid situation, said that the month-wise whole genome sequencing has shown that more than 90 per cent is a variant of concern i.e. the original virus has been practically replaced by variants, and the Delta variant remained predominant even in June. However, there are no new cases of the Delta Plus variant, he noted.

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