France's new COVID-19 cases slow again before possible lockdown loosening

PARIS, Nov 23 (Reuters) - French health authorities on Monday reported 4,452 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, down from Sunday’s 13,157, with the daily increase decelerating for the fourth day in a row ahead of a possible loosening of the country’s second lockdown.

The Monday figure tends to dip as there are fewer tests conducted on Sundays. The seven-day moving average of new infections, which averages out weekly data reporting irregularities, stands at 21,918, dipping below the 22,000 threshold for the first time since Oct. 17.

That figure had peaked at 54,440 on Nov. 7.

The number of people in France who have died from COVID-19 infections rose by 501 to 49,233, versus 214 on Sunday. The cumulative number of cases now totals 2,144,660, the fourth highest tally in the world. (Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Chris Reese)