China’s COVID infections peak since late April

SHANGHAI, Nov 12 (Reuters) – China on Saturday announced its highest tally of new COVID-19 infections since late April, a day after Beijing unveiled a series of measures, including shorter quarantines, to ease the coronavirus pandemic. Impact of His Heavy Hand Zero-COVID Policy.

The strict measures had proved a drag on the world’s second-largest economy, disrupting industrial activity and frustrating residents with lockdowns, quarantines, frequent testing and travel disruptions.

The National Health Commission reported 11,950 new COVID-19 infections for the previous day, of which 1,504 were symptomatic and 10,446 were asymptomatic. That compares with 10,729 new cases a day earlier – 1,209 symptomatic infections and 9,520 asymptomatic infections, which China counts separately.

Investors were encouraged by Friday’s eased restrictions, which included a shorter quarantine for incoming travelers and those in close contact with infected people.

These were reduced from two days to a total of eight, with the first five spent at a centralized facility.

China will also stop trying to identify “secondary” contacts, a practice that has drawn many urban residents into contact tracing efforts after a case is discovered, while identifying close contacts.

But banking firm Goldman Sachs said it continued to see downside risks to near-term economic growth as several major cities report rising case numbers.

“The changes to the quarantine period from ‘7+3’ to ‘5+3’ are marginal in terms of economic impact,” he said in a note on Friday.

“However, the signal that senior management is gearing up to exit three years of zero COVID policy sometime next year – in our view, most likely soon after the ‘two sessions’ were held in March – seems clear and important,” he said, referring to the annual parliamentary meetings.

Excluding imported infections, China reported 11,803 new local cases, including 1,452 symptomatic and 10,351 asymptomatic, compared to 10,535 the previous day.

Guangzhou, a southern metropolis of nearly 19 million that has brought a handful of districts under lockdown, reported 3,180 locally transmitted infections on Friday, down from 2,583 the day before.

Beijing, the capital, reported 68 symptomatic and 48 asymptomatic cases, down from 64 symptomatic and 54 asymptomatic the previous day, according to local government data.

Parts of the city are calling for daily testing, while business disruptions continue. The high-end SKP mall in the capital’s sprawling Chaoyang district said it was closed on Saturday for COVID control and prevention measures.

Shanghai News Room report; Editing by William Mallard and Clarence Fernandez

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Carol N. Valencia