July 28, 2020 / 5:25 PM / 18 days ago

France reports slower increase in COVID-19 cases

FILE PHOTO: Christian George, Director of Research at the National Centre of Scientific Research, helps a patient suffering from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to use the COVID-19 'Breathalyzer' test machine at the La Croix-Rousse Hospital in Lyon, France, July 22, 2020. REUTERS/Yiming Woo

PARIS (Reuters) - French health authorities reported 725 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday, below the daily average of 924 over the past week but unlikely to alleviate fears of a second wave.

In a statement, authorities said “viral circulation is still sustained in France”, stressing the reproduction rate was steady at 1.3.

A reproduction rate, or ‘R’, of 1.3 means that 100 people with the virus infect, on average, 130 other people. A rate of less than 1 is needed to gradually contain the disease.

France also reported 14 new deaths from the virus, taking the total to 30,223, and twice the daily average increase of seven seen over the past week.

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 went down by 104 to 5,551, continuing a two-month downward trend.

Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Giles Elgood

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