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France's COVID-19 cases at four-month high, health system holding up

Pedestrians wearing protective face masks walk by a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) information sign, as France reinforces mask-wearing as part of efforts to curb a resurgence of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across the country, France, August 13, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau reuters_tickers
This content was published on August 13, 2020 - 19:13

PARIS (Reuters) - France reported more than 2,500 new COVID-19 infections for the second day in a row on Thursday, levels last seen in mid-April when the country was in the middle of one of Europe's strictest lockdowns.

Despite the rise in cases, which could prompt Britain to remove France from its list of safe travel destinations, the number of people hospitalised due to the disease continued to fall, having dipped below 5,000 for the first time since mid-March on Wednesday.

Experts say this is because more young people are being infected, who are less likely to need hospital care.

The total official tally of cases now stands at 209,365.

The seven-day moving average of new infections, which smooths out reporting irregularities, increased to 1,962, a total that has doubled over the last two weeks to levels not seen since the end of April.

Meanwhile, the daily average since the beginning of the month has reached 1,650, approaching March's 1,678, when the disease started to overwhelm the healthcare system and prompted the government to impose lockdown on March 17.

The daily death toll increased by 17 to 30,388 on Thursday, lifting the seven-day average to 11 versus 10 on August 1st.

But fatalities remain low in comparison with the April's average daily death toll of 695.

(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Hugh Lawson, Kirsten Donovan)

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