France's new COVID cases sharply down, hospitalisations up again

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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing centre in Le Bignon

PARIS (Reuters) - The French health ministry reported 4,022 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours on Monday, a figure three times lower as Sunday's 12,489 but higher than last Monday's 2,960 and the number of people hospitalised for the disease was up for the third day running.

France, which is accelerating its COVID-19 vaccination roll-out after being criticized for a snail-pace start, has now 24,995 patients treated for the virus, a high since Dec 22.

France's cumulative total of cases now stands at 2,659,750, the fifth-highest in the world. The seven-day moving average of new infections stands at 13,872, a 10-day high.

The COVID-19 death toll was up by 378, at 65,415, the seventh-highest in the world, versus a seven-day moving average of 329.

(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by GV De Clercq)