PARIS (Reuters) – France reported 18,870 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, up from Monday’s 4,317 but well down from the previous Tuesday’s 23,337, and hospital numbers fell again after a two-day rise.
The seven-day moving average of new infections, which evens out daily reporting irregularities, stands at 19,348, a low since Jan. 20. The total cumulative number of cases increased to 3.36 million, the sixth highest in the world.
This seven-day moving average has now stayed in a tight 19,200-20,700 range for almost three weeks, a trend that seems to warrant the government’s decision not to resort to a third lockdown despite health experts calling for it.
Earlier in the day, Health Minister Olivier Veran said the COVID-19 situation was stable and it was possible that France might not have to resort to another lockdown after imposing two last year to try and rein in the pandemic.
Unlike some of its neighbours, France has eschewed a third national lockdown, hoping that a curfew in place since Dec. 15 and a vaccination programme that has now given shots to more than 2 million people will be enough to rein in contagion.
After reaching a more-than two-month high on Monday, the total number of patients treated in intensive care units (ICUs) for the respiratory disease fell by 21 to 3,342.
The number of people in France who have died from COVID-19 rose by 724 to 80,147 – the seventh highest death toll globally – versus 458 on Monday and a seven-day moving average of 416.
(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Mark Heinrich)