China's COVID cases highest since April

China has reported its largest tally of new COVID-19 infections since late April, a day after Beijing unveiled a spate of measures, including shorter quarantines, to ease the impact of its heavy-handed zero-COVID policy.

The stringent 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 interruptions.

The National Health Commission on Saturday reported 11,950 new COVID-19 infections for the previous day, of which 1504 were symptomatic and 10,446 were asymptomatic.

That compares with 10,729 new cases a day earlier: 1209 symptomatic and 9520 asymptomatic infections, which China counts separately.

Investors were heartened by Friday's eased curbs, among them shorter quarantine for inbound travellers and those in close contact with infected people.

These were cut by two days to a total of eight, with the first five spent in a centralised facility.

China will also stop trying to identify "secondary" contacts, a practice that swept up many urban residents in contact-tracing efforts after a case was found, while still identifying close contacts.

Excluding imported infections, China reported 11,803 new local cases, of which 1452 were symptomatic and 10,351 were asymptomatic, up from 10,535 a day earlier.

Guangzhou, a southern metropolis of nearly 19 million people that has put a handful of districts under lockdown, reported 3180 locally transmitted infections for Friday, up from 2583 a day earlier.

Beijing, the capital, reported 68 symptomatic and 48 asymptomatic cases, versus 64 symptomatic and 54 asymptomatic ones the previous day, local government data showed.

Some parts of the city are urging daily testing, while business disruptions continued. The high-end SKP shopping mall in the capital's sprawling Chaoyang district, said it was closed on Saturday for COVID control and prevention measures.