French authorities have imposed a curfew on 46 million people, about two-third of its total population for six weeks, after a record of 42,032 infections in one day.
France has recorded over a million infections. In all of Europe, only Russia and Spain have surpassed this milestone.
It has drawn complaints from restaurant and bar owners, whose businesses are already suffering after the two-month lockdown in the spring.
In several regions of France, more than half the intensive care beds are now occupied by Covid-19 patients. Over the past 24 hours France recorded 162 more deaths.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex said “circulation of the virus has today reached a very high level” – 251 infections per 100,000 people in the past week.
He said that was a 40% increase in one week and the reproduction (R) rate was around 1.35, “which basically means a doubling of the number of cases every two weeks”. The R rate measures how many others each infected person is passing the virus on to.
Most of Europe have been imposing partial lockdowns, allowing only travel to work, shopping for essentials and school for younger children.
New lockdowns have come into force in the Czech Republic and Republic of Ireland.
There are also high infection rates in Belgium, Spain and Italy, putting many hospitals under severe pressure.