France's new daily COVID-19 cases a little down but still close to 20,000

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France continues vaccinating the elderly against COVID-19

PARIS (Reuters) - The French health ministry reported 19,927 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours on Thursday, down from Wednesday's more than one-month high of 26,457 but still far from the government's target of less than 5,000 daily additional infections.

France, which has been criticized for a vaccination campaign seen as too slow, did nonetheless see the number of persons hospitalised for the disease decline for the third day running, relieving some stress on the healthcare system.

France's cumulative total of cases now stands at 2,620,425, the fifth-highest in the world.

The seven-day moving average of new infections stands at 13,274.

The COVID-19 death toll was up by 251, at 64,632, versus a seven day moving average of 338.

(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Chris Reese)