(Adds hospital and ICU data, deaths)
PARIS, Aug 12 (Reuters) - The French health ministry reported 2,524 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, a new post-lockdown daily record, which took the country's cumulative total of cases to 206,696.
The seven-day moving average of new infections, which smoothes out daily data-reporting irregularities, increased to 1,810, the highest level since April 24, when the epidemic was still in full swing and France was under a strict lockdown.
The seven-day average, which set a high of 4,537 on April 1, has now been above 1,000 for two weeks, with the infection rate increasing as millions of French people travel during the holiday season and social-distancing rules are not always respected in busy areas.
The government spokesman said on Wednesday that France will gradually ramp up police checks to ensure people wear face masks where it is mandatory and respect social distancing amidst a new surge of COVID-19 infections.
"We're at a tipping point (...) We're going to mobilize police forces to make checks," Gabriel Attal said.
Despite the sharp jump in infections, the number of people in hospital with COVID-19 continued to fall and was down by 121 to 4,891, the first time it fell below 5000 since March 19. It had set a high of 32,292 on April 14.
The number of people in intensive care with coronavirus continued its slide, and was down by 12 to 379, after having risen a few days last week.
The daily death toll increased by 18 to 30,371, compared to an increase of 14 on Tuesday and a seven-day moving average of nine. (Reporting by Geert De Clercq Editing by Gareth Jones and Bernadette Baum)