For the first time since mid-July, the French average of new COVID-19 cases falls below 5,000.

The French seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases fell below 5,000 for the first time since July 13, according to health ministry data released on Friday.

On Friday, the ministry reported 4,935 new cases, bringing the total to 7.02 million, and the seven-day moving average, which smooths out daily reporting irregularities, fell by 135 to 4,967.

After the third lockdown in the spring, the average number of new daily cases had dropped below 2,000 by the end of June, but a more contagious new variant of the virus sent the infection rate skyrocketing to nearly 24,000 by mid-August.

Since then it has gradually been falling again as the introduction of a mandatory health pass for entering restaurants and other public places gave a new boost to France’s vaccination campaign.

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 continued to fall on Friday, and the ministry also reported 49 new deaths, taking the cumulative toll since the start of the epidemic to 116,739 deaths.

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