China sets record for daily Covid-19 cases

Almost 31,500 people were diagnosed with the disease on Wednesday, according to official data

China on Wednesday registered its highest number of daily coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic almost three years ago, official data has shown.

There were 31,444 new cases of the disease in the country on November 23, of which 3,927 were symptomatic and 27,517 asymptomatic, the National Health Bureau announced on Thursday.

The figures surpassed the previous 24-hour infection record, set on April 13, which amounted to 29,317 cases.

Beijing has been pursuing a strict zero-Covid policy since the first outbreak of the disease in the city of Wuhan in late 2019, with strict lockdowns and widespread testing, meaning the current number of infections is still low compared to many other countries.

The highest-ever infection rate was recorded by the US – the nation worst hit by the pandemic – with 1.35 million new cases on a single day in January.

China relaxed some of the rules aimed at tackling the virus earlier in November, easing quarantine requirements for those entering the country and simplifying a system for designating high-risk areas.

However, rising caseloads in cities including Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou prompted the authorities to tighten restrictions.

In the capital, people now require a negative PCR test result, less than 48 hours old, to be able to enter shopping malls, hotels, government buildings, and other public areas. Schools in Beijing have also moved to online classes, according to the local authorities.

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