July 29, 2020 / 7:16 PM / 9 days ago

France's new COVID-19 cases hit one-month peak

FILE PHOTO: Christian George, Director of Research at the National Centre of Scientific Research, and Jean-Christophe Richard, Head of Intensive Care Medicine, look at a screen showing results from the COVID-19 'Breathalyzer' test machine at the La Croix-Rousse Hospital in Lyon, France, July 22, 2020. REUTERS/Yiming Woo

PARIS (Reuters) - The number of new coronavirus infections in France rose by 1,392 on Wednesday, the highest daily tally in a month and a figure likely to fuel fears of a second wave of the disease despite officials downplaying such a scenario.

The increase took France’s total number of confirmed cases to 185,196. In a statement, health authorities said that, leaving aside the continuous decline of people in ICU units, all COVID-19 indicators showed “an increase of the viral circulation”.

The reproduction rate, on an upward trend since the beginning of the month, is now “higher than 1.3”, which marks a rise over 24 hours, they said.

The figure for new cases, the highest since the June 26 total of 1,588, is above the past week’s daily average of 980 and almost double the 715 average seen in May, when France started to lift is lockdown.

Earlier in the day, French health minister Olivier Veran urged the country not to drop its guard against the disease, but said it was “not facing a second wave”.

There were also 15 new deaths linked to the disease, taking the total to 30,238, a figure higher than the daily average increase of nine seen over the last week.

France has the seventh-highest death toll in the world.

Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Franklin Paul and Jan Harvey

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