PARIS (Reuters) – France’s increase of new COVID-19 cases sharply decelerated on Monday, as is always the case on that day given there are fewer tests conducted on Sundays, but hospitalisations and deaths linked to the disease shot up again.
The government has recently ramped up measures aimed at containing the resurgence of the virus and avoiding a second national lockdown, with bars ordered to close at 2000 GMT (10 p.m. local time) in Paris and several other big cities starting from this Monday.
French health authorities reported 4,070 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, sharply down from Saturday’s third-highest ever tally of 14,412 and Sunday’s 11,123. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/30g7l4o)
But the seven-day moving average of new infections, which smoothes out reporting irregularities, stood at 12,083, above the 12,000 threshold for a fourth day in a row, versus a low of 272 on May 27, two weeks after the country ended its two-month-long lockdown.
The cumulative number of cases now totals 542,639.
The number of people hospitalised for the disease has gone up by more than 150, going over the 6,400 threshold for the first time since July 21.
That is still five times lower than the April 14 peak of 32,292 but up by 41% versus a low point of 4,530 seen at the end of August.
France imposed one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns between March 17 and May 11 to prevent its hospital system from being overwhelmed.
And while the present figures may seem nowhere near the highs recorded in spring, medical experts fear the addition of COVID-19 and seasonal diseases such as flu might worsen the situation very quickly. The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units has reached a three-month high of 1,158, far lower than the April 8 peak of 7,148.
The number of people in France who have died from COVID-19 infections rose by 81 to 31,808, versus 27 on Sunday and a seven-day moving average of 67. That figure stood at 17 on the first day of the month.
(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Lisa Shumaker)