Paris (AFP)

France has exceeded in the last 24 hours the 4,700 new cases of Covid-19, an unprecedented increase since May, according to figures released Thursday by Public Health France.

Over the last day, 4,771 new positive diagnoses were recorded, against 3,776 on Wednesday. Since May, this is the first time that the bar of 4,000 new cases over 24 hours has been crossed.

In total, 18,638 people have tested positive for Covid-19 over the past seven days.

And the percentage of positive tests continues to increase slightly, to 3.3% from 3.1% on Wednesday. 33 new foci of grouped cases (clusters) were detected, also indicated Public Health France.

French hospitals have admitted 149 new patients with Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, up from 162 on Wednesday, according to figures released Thursday by the Directorate General of Health (DGS). In total, 4,748 people are hospitalized for a Covid-19 infection, a decrease (they were 4,806 on Wednesday, 4,823 on Tuesday).

The number of patients in intensive care (380) increased slightly compared to the previous day (374).

30,480 people have died in France since the start of the epidemic (i.e. 12 deaths since Wednesday), including 19,969 in hospitals and 10,511 in social and medico-social establishments (a figure which dates from Tuesday and will be updated on August 25 ).

"In mainland France, the dynamic of strong growth in transmission remains worrying: all indicators continue to progress while the level of screening is stagnating," notes Public Health France in its weekly update also published Thursday.

Over the past week, the number of new confirmed cases of Covid-19 has increased by 43% compared to the previous week.

According to this report, new hospitalizations and intensive care admissions also show an upward trend.

In addition, six metropolitan departments have an incidence rate exceeding the alert threshold (50/100 000 h): three in Ile-de-France (Paris, Seine-Saint-Denis and Val de Marne), two Provence- Alpes-Côte d'Azur (Bouches-du-Rhône and Alpes-Maritimes) and one in Pays de la Loire (Sarthe). 24 departments are classified in moderate vulnerability level.

Guyana is still in "high level of vulnerability" but Mayotte has fallen this week to "moderate".

While the authorities are watching with concern this epidemic progression, and tend to generalize the wearing of masks, President Emmanuel Macron estimated Thursday that there were "reasonable prospects" of obtaining a vaccine against the coronavirus "in the coming months" .

"This will not solve the problems of the next few weeks, but the next few months," added Emmanuel Macron, welcoming the European coordination in the search for the vaccine.

© 2020 AFP