Daily COVID-19 cases in France at near two-month low

Rosalie, a medecine student, performs a rapid Covid-19 antigenic test in a tent outside a pharmacy in Antibes as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues in France, November 23, 2020. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

PARIS (Reuters) - France reported 4,452 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, the lowest daily tally since Sept. 28, suggesting a second national lockdown is making its mark.

The lockdown, in place from Oct. 30 and less stringent than the first one that ran from March 17 to May 11, has also helped lower hospitalisations, on a downward path again after peaking at 33,497 a week ago.

President Emmanuel Macron will give a speech to the nation on Tuesday when he may announce a relaxation of lockdown rules.

Last month, Macron said that daily new infections would have to fall to about 5,000 before the lockdown could be eased, but a top government scientific adviser said last week that was unlikely to happen before year-end.

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 peaked at 54,440 on Nov. 7.

The number of people in France who have died from COVID-19 rose by 500 to 49,232 on Monday, versus 214 on Sunday and a seven-day moving average of 597.

The cumulative number of cases now totals 2,144,660, the fourth highest in the world.

Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Chris Reese and Nick Macfie