PARIS (REUTERS) – France has recorded more than 30,000 new Covid-19 infections in the past 24 hours, Health Minister Olivier Veran told lawmakers on Tuesday (Nov 23), the first time since August the number has exceeded that level.

On Monday – when new cases typically dip due to the weekend – France reported 5,266 new cases, which was an increase of 63 per cent over the previous Monday, pushing the seven-day moving average of new cases to nearly 18,500.

“Today, we will announce 30,000 cases over 24 hours. That is a very major increase in the infection rate, which shows that we really are, unfortunately, in a fifth wave of the epidemic,” Veran said.

European stocks slumped to a three-week low on Tuesday, clocking their worst session in nearly two months, as a resurgence in Covid-19 cases raised fears of tighter restrictions.

A daily tally of 30,000 cases in France would be the highest since the 30,920 registered on Aug 8, which was also the peak of daily new cases during the previous wave.

Two days later, the seven-day moving average of new cases rose to nearly 24,000. The seven-day average fell back to 4,172 on October 9, but since then it has been rising again and on Nov 10 – with the average over 9,000 – Veran said that it looked like France was seeing the start of a fifth wave of the epidemic.

France saw an overall record of 86,852 new cases per day on Nov 7, 2020, when the seven-day average also soared to a record 54,440.

Tuesday’s new cases tally will be published around 1900 CET.

The number of patients in intensive care units in France on Tuesday rose to 1,455, up by 49 from Monday. New recorded Covid-19-related deaths rose by 84.

The 30,000 new cases will push France’s closely watched incidence rate – the number of new cases per week per 100,000 people – to over 200 for the first time since the end of August.