French new daily coronavirus cases close to 2021 high

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FILE PHOTO: French Gendarmes check cars at the French Belgium border

PARIS (Reuters) - France reported 26,362 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, up from 23,337 on Tuesday and just below the 2021 high of 26,916 set last Wednesday.

Despite ever-tighter government curbs on the movement of people in the last weeks, the spread of the virus is not slowing and the seven-day moving average of new cases - which evens out daily reporting irregularities - has been above 20,000 since Jan. 23, from 13,274 on Dec 31.

The French health ministry also reported 357 new COVID-19 deaths in hospitals, from 404 on Tuesday, taking the total to 77,595. The total number of cases now stands at 3.25 million.

Pressure on the hospital system eased slightly, with the number of COVID-19 patients down by 116 to 27,955 and the number of people in intensive care down by 3 to 3,277.

(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Chris Reese and Barbara Lewis)