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Nepal to reopen schools, other venues as virus cases fall

February 7, 2022 GMT
FILE - Nepalese people queue up to get vaccinated after government made vaccination cards mandatory for people to access public services in Kathmandu, Nepal on Jan. 20, 2022. Nepal's capital on Monday, Feb. 7, 2022 announced it would ease strict pandemic measures, with plans to reopen schools and sports venues and slowly return city life to normal, as COVID-19 cases began to decline. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha, File)
FILE - Nepalese people queue up to get vaccinated after government made vaccination cards mandatory for people to access public services in Kathmandu, Nepal on Jan. 20, 2022. Nepal's capital on Monday, Feb. 7, 2022 announced it would ease strict pandemic measures, with plans to reopen schools and sports venues and slowly return city life to normal, as COVID-19 cases began to decline. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha, File)
FILE - Nepalese people queue up to get vaccinated after government made vaccination cards mandatory for people to access public services in Kathmandu, Nepal on Jan. 20, 2022. Nepal's capital on Monday, Feb. 7, 2022 announced it would ease strict pandemic measures, with plans to reopen schools and sports venues and slowly return city life to normal, as COVID-19 cases began to decline. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha, File)
FILE - Nepalese people queue up to get vaccinated after government made vaccination cards mandatory for people to access public services in Kathmandu, Nepal on Jan. 20, 2022. Nepal's capital on Monday, Feb. 7, 2022 announced it would ease strict pandemic measures, with plans to reopen schools and sports venues and slowly return city life to normal, as COVID-19 cases began to decline. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha, File)
FILE - Nepalese people queue up to get vaccinated after government made vaccination cards mandatory for people to access public services in Kathmandu, Nepal on Jan. 20, 2022. Nepal's capital on Monday, Feb. 7, 2022 announced it would ease strict pandemic measures, with plans to reopen schools and sports venues and slowly return city life to normal, as COVID-19 cases began to decline. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha, File)

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal’s capital on Monday announced it would ease strict pandemic measures, with plans to reopen schools and sports venues and slowly return city life to normal, as COVID-19 cases began to decline.

The Nepalese government imposed tough restrictions last month as virus cases broke records, fueled by the omicron variant. Schools were shut, religious festivals banned, and restaurants were limited to serving small numbers of customers.

The Kathmandu District Administration said in a statement that it would lift limits on road traffic from Monday, which had restricted vehicles to alternating days for odd or even license plates.

The announcement added that schools and colleges would be allowed to resume in-person teaching from next week.

Schools ordered to close since last month have been demanding the government reopen educational institutions as the number of COVID-19 cases began to decline.

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Teachers say online education was limited to only a small part of the population living in the urban areas of the Himalayan country while a majority of students were being deprived of their chance to learn.

Theaters, gyms, and other public venues closed since last month will also be allowed to open and operate normally. Sports venues and stadiums would be allowed to host half-capacity of spectators.

Authorities will maintain a requirement that people carry in public their vaccination cards and undertake social distancing measures.

Nepal has fully vaccinated 52% of the population, including students and children aged 12 and above. It has reported over 1 million coronavirus cases and 11,814 deaths since the pandemic began.

The lifting of restrictions in the capital city and surrounding districts was expected to be followed by a similar easing in other parts of the country.