Officials are increasingly concerned about the high number of infections in France, even if the death toll and admissions to intensive care are way off the hights recorded in March and April.
The health ministry said 9,843 new coronavirus infections had been recorded, the highest number since large scale testing began, with 71 new clusters confirmed.
Over the last week, 48,542 new cases have been counted, out of over a million tests carried out. The proportion of tests coming in positive has now risen to 5.4 percent, compared to 4.4 percent a week ago.
Nineteen more people died after a Covid-19 infection, bringing France's total toll from the pandemic to 30,813, the ministry added.
When it comes to hospital patient numbers the figures are also on the rise again.
Some 5,096 patients were being treated in hospital for coronavirus on Thursday – a net rise of 93 on Wednesday. The number of intensive care patients also rose over a 24-hour period from 599 to 615.
French ministers and health experts will meet Friday to decide what measures are needed, with President Emmanuel Macron vowing they would give a clear idea to the public what can be expected over the next weeks.
More worrying is the jump in acute cases, which remained low until two weeks ago. Talk of an “epidemic without sick people” is no longer justified, I fear.
— John Lichfield (@john_lichfield) September 10, 2020
“We need to be as transparent and clear as possible,” Macron said Thursday. “We need to be demanding and realistic without giving in to any kind of panic.”
The head of the scientific council advising the government on the pandemic, Jean-Francois Delfraissy, said Wednesday that “tough” decisions may be required at the meeting.
People at high risk because of old age or health problems including diabetes, obesity and respiratory issues may require a protective “bubble” around them.
The government may also have to become more forceful in some areas about imposing confinement measures for infected people and those they have been in touch with, he said, although this was not for now an official recommendation.
There was the danger of a “very rapid, exponential rise” in some places, Delfraissy said, singling out the French Riviera and Provence region.
Prime Minister Jean Castex is himself in a seven-day period of self-isolation, having spent part of the weekend with the boss of the Tour de France who tested positive for Covid-19.