COVID-19 infections in France are down again but hospitalizations remain high

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FILE PHOTO: Medical staff work in the intensive care unit (ICU) where patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are treated at Pasteur Hospital in Nice, France November 27, 2020 . REUTERS / Eric Gaillard

PARIS (Reuters) – France recorded 4,005 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, the smallest increase since August, but a downward trend in hospitalizations has slowed, suggesting the country is not out of the woods .

President Emmanuel Macron said last week that a lockdown could be lifted on December 15 if by then the number of new infections per day drops to 5,000 and the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care drops between 2,500 and 3000.

The second nationwide lockdown since October 30 was loosened over the weekend with all stores reopening.

The number of new infections reported tends to drop on Monday as fewer tests are done on Sunday. The seven-day moving average of new daily infections, which smooths out irregularities in reporting, stood at 11,118, a nearly two-month low.

The cumulative number of cases now stands at more than 2.2 million, the fifth highest number in the world. November set a new record for new monthly infections in France, at 854,863 from 804,090 in October.

The number of ICU patients only fell by five to 3,751 after a 22 drop on Sunday. But the number of ICUs fell by 677 in the previous five days.

Hospitalizations for the disease fell from 55 Monday to 28,258, after increasing by 145 on Sunday and falling from a daily average of 473 between Tuesday and Saturday.

The number of people who have died in France from COVID-19 increased from 406 to 52,731, the seventh in the world, from 198 on Sunday. The seven-day moving average, at 500, has now declined for the 10th day in a row.

Report by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Edited by Franklin Paul and Cynthia Osterman

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