PARIS (Reuters) – France saw the biggest jump in new COVID-19 cases since February, health ministry data showed on Tuesday, with 180,777 new infections over 24 hours, and hospital numbers also rose for the third consecutive day.
The new cases brought the cumulative number of registered infections to 24.3 million as the resumption of classes following two weeks of school holidays marked a sharp resurgence of the epidemic.
The seven-day moving average of new cases rose further to just under 99,000, where it had been from end-December till mid-February, driven by the contagious Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus.
The health ministry also reported that the number of people hospitalised with COVID-19 in France rose by 36 to 20,742 over the past 24 hours, and was down just 0.8% compared to a week ago. Week-on-week the number of patients had been falling steadily since Feb. 10, but the rate of improvement has slowed down in the past few weeks.
French new infections have been increasing again since the beginning of the month but Health Minister Olivier Veran has said this trend should reverse by the end of March. Most of the country’s COVID-19 restrictions were lifted a few weeks ago.
(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten and Geert De Clercq; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)