The country reported 50,659 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, up from 59,038 on Wednesday and 45,641 reported on Thursday a week ago, according to data from the Ministry of Health.
A total of 5,109 people were in intensive care units with Covid-19, up 56 from the previous day.
France could reach the peak of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in 7 to 10 days with the new restrictive measures announced by President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday, Health Minister Olivier Veran told France Inter radio.
Mr Macron has ordered France to proceed with its third national lockdown and said schools will close for three weeks as he seeks to fend off a wave of infections that threaten to overwhelm hospitals.
France also reported 308 new hospital deaths from Covid-19 on Thursday, bringing the total hospital deaths to 69,904.
The total number of deaths from the coronavirus in the country is estimated at more than 100,000.
Mr Macron’s order for a third Covid-19 lockdown, after insisting for weeks on keeping the country open against the advice of scientists, has exposed him to much criticism.
The French president has also been criticized for the perceived slowness of France’s vaccination campaign. Only around 12% of the population has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, compared to over 45% in the UK.
By locking down the country, the former investment banker has abandoned the two-month bet that he could guide France through this wave without the harsh stay-at-home orders and school closings imposed this year in d ‘other European countries.
Prime Minister Jean Castex told lawmakers on Thursday before taking a token vote on the lockdown that the government was struggling to strike a balance between acting neither too early nor too late.
“These measures seem essential to us. Essential to allow our country to go through what we hope will be this last phase [of the crisis], ” he said.
The president has previously insisted he was right to keep France open and shield the economy from another shutdown, even as hospitals began to warp under stress. “I have no mea culpa to do, no regrets,” Macron said barely a week ago.
On Wednesday evening, however, Mr Macron admitted that some mistakes had been made. “All of this is true. But I do know one thing: we held on, we learned and every step of the way we got better.
Additional reports by agencies