Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Tuesday that France's coronavirus infection rate was headed in the wrong direction and that a collective response was necessary if it was to avoid losing control of the rebound in cases.
The public was becoming careless, Castex warned, after official data recorded nearly 5,000 new COVID-19 cases from Saturday to Monday. The epidemic has killed more than 30,300 people in France.
Castex said France was extending a ban on gatherings of more than 5,000 people until the end of October and would draw up new restrictions in the 20 largest cities to curb the rising infection rate.
Local officials would be also asked to do more to encourage the wearing of masks in public spaces nationwide.
Testing was more than satisfactory, with more than 600,000 tests being conducted weekly, but more could still be done to target those with symptoms, the prime minister said.
"If we don't act collectively, we expose ourselves to the heightened risk that the rebound in the epidemic becomes hard to control," Castex said during a visit to a hospital intensive care ward in southern France.