Beijing: Some 37 million people in China may have been infected with COVID-19 on a single day this week, UK-based Financial Times (FT) reported, as Beijing discontinued restrictions that had contained the virus since the start of the pandemic.

Chinese officials estimate about 250 million people were infected with Covid-19 in the first 20 days of December, Financial Times reported citing people familiar with the matter.

The estimates, including 37 million people who were infected on Tuesday alone, were revealed by Sun Yang, a deputy director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in a health briefing on Wednesday, the FT report said.

During the closed-door briefing, Sun said that the rate of Covid's spread in China was still rising and estimated that more than half of the population in Beijing and Sichuan were already infected.

On Sunday, China's National Health Commission, which used to issue the country's COVID-19 case figures on a daily basis, stopped publishing the update, The Global Times reported.

"China's National Health Commission (NHC) will stop publishing daily COVID-19 case data from Sunday. Instead, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention will release COVID-related info for study and reference," NHC said in a statement.

On the website, the National Health Commission on Saturday gave the Covid case figures of Friday. China mainland reported 4,128 new cases of confirmed infections and no new death in the country.

On December 23, 1,760 patients were released from the hospital after being cured and 28,865 people who had had close contact with infected patients were freed from medical observation. The number of serious cases increased by 99.

Earlier, British-based health data firm Airfinity, said that the infections in China are likely to be more than one million a day with deaths at more than 5,000 a day.

New modelling by Airfinity has examined data from China's regional provinces. The current outbreak is growing more rapidly in some regions than in others. Cases are currently rising much more quickly in Beijing and Guangdong.

"Using the trends in regional data our team of epidemiologists has forecast the first peak to be in regions where cases are currently rising and a second peak driven by later surges in other Chinese provinces," Airfinity said in a statement.