French health minister says Delta variant only made up between 2 and 4 per cent of confirmed cases in the country.
French president said in TV address that 'we will lose control if we do not move now', adding that France faces a 'race against the clock'.
For the first time in months, a return to more normal living conditions was in sight, government spokesperson Gabriel Attal told reporters following a meeting of the French cabinet.
It's the first time the French president has given a hint of a time frame for an easing of restrictions, including the 6pm national curfew.
Prime minister Jean Castex also said France will close all large shopping centres, in bid to prevent need for a third lockdown.
French President Emmanuel Macron has announced moves to help higher education students cope with the social and financial disruption of their lives by lockdowns and curfews amid the coronavirus epidemic, promising the provision of one-euro meals for all and subsidies for psychological counselling in recognition of serious income and mental health problems caused for many isolated students.
But French health minister now rules out another nation-wide lockdown.
Curfew is ‘absolutely not decided at this stage,’ said prime minister’s office shortly after official spokesperson said it was.
After being forced to close their establishments during the lockdown, theatre and cinema operators in the Île-de-France region and eight major cities now have to deal with the introduction on Saturday of a curfew from 9 pm, for at least four weeks.
French president Emmanuel Macron has announced a late night curfew for residents in Paris, Marseille and seven other cities: Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Montpellier, Rouen, Saint-Etienne and Toulouse, covering 19 million people. The government also moved to reinstate its COVID-19 state of health emergency.