France again registers over 7,000 new COVID-19 infections, ICU numbers spike

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PARIS (Reuters) - France registered more than 7,000 new coronavirus infections over 24 hours for the second time in two days, the health ministry said on Thursday, while hospitalisations for the virus also rose again.

The health ministry reported that the cumulative total of confirmed cases rose to 300,181, up by 7,157, just shy of a 7,578 record set on March 31 during lockdown. It had reported an increase of 7,017 cases on Wednesday and first reached the 7,000 level again last week.

While the lockdown record for daily infections has not yet been broken, the seven-day moving average - which smooths out daily reporting irregularities - rose to 5,783, and is above the record set during lockdown for a seventh day.

During lockdown, which ran from March 17 to May 10, the seven-day moving average of new infections set a high of 4,537 on April 1.

The number of people in intensive care with the disease rose again for the fifth consecutive day on Thursday, up by 18 to 464, and the number of people in hospital also rose for a fifth day in a row, up 11 to 4,643.

The death toll increased by 20 to 30,706, the fourth consecutive day of a double-digit death toll.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Catherine Evans and Barbara Lewis