France's average daily new COVID infections near three-month high

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FILE PHOTO: Intensive care unit at the Centre Cardiologique du Nord private hospital in Saint-Denis near Paris

PARIS (Reuters) - French health authorities reported 5,266 daily new COVID-19 infections on Monday, pushing the seven-day moving average of new cases to an almost three-month high.

That average - which smoothes out daily reporting irregularities - rose to 18,479, a level unseen since Aug. 27, from a three-month low of 4,172 on Oct. 10.

It had set a 2021 record of 42,225 in mid-April before falling to a 2021 low of 1,816 at the end of June.

French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said on Sunday the current wave of the pandemic was "rampant."

Unlike some of its European peers, France has yet to announce a new batch of restrictive measure to contain the disease, with some experts saying the ongoing wave could hit its climax in the country around Christmas.

The cumulative total of new cases now stands at 7.42 million.

In another sign the virus' spread is speeding up again, the number of people treated in intensive care units for COVID-19 went up by 67 over 24 hours to 1,409, going 1,400 for the first time since Sept. 30.

The total number of patients hospitalised for the disease increased by 300 versus Sunday to 8,338, the highest daily rise since Aug. 23.

France also registered 97 new daily deaths from the epidemic - the highest figure since Sept. 21 - taking the total to 118,540. The seven-day moving average of new fatalities reached an almost two-month high of 49.

(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Catherine Evans and Cynthia Osterman)

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