PARIS, March 14 (Reuters) – French health authorities reported 18,853 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, a figure showing a week-on-week increase for the tenth consecutive time on the day France lifted most of the restrictions put in place to contain the pandemic. The seven-day moving average of new cases, which evens out reporting irregularities, reached 65,882, the highest since Feb. 24. The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 rose by 8, to 20,925, a figure still 37% lower than the pandemic peak of 33,497 reached in November 2020. But it has gone up for the second day running, a first since early February. And the week-on-week decrease has been decelerating for nine days. A change in trend in infections is usually visible two weeks later in hospitalizations figures. The COVID-19 death toll went up by 185 over 24 hours, the steepest rise in 10 days, to 140,294.