France on Friday reported 588 more deaths from the novel coronavirus. The total death toll now stands at 6,507 and the number of confirmed cases in hospitals rose to 64,338 from 59,105 in one day. The number of people in intensive care due to COVID-19 also rose to 6,662 from 6,399.
French police ramped up checks at train stations and motorways on Friday to stop people breaking a national lockdown ahead of school holidays this weekend, as doctors said they hoped to see a plateau in coronavirus cases in the coming days.
Health care professionals hope that the first positive results of the confinement could emerge this weekend because the incubation period for the virus is around two weeks.
"We are waiting for impact of the confinement. For now there is still uncertainty on when the flow of those entering hospitals will fall," said Bruno Riou, who heads up the Paris hospitals' crisis team.
"The important point will be when we reach that plateau."
Officials insist that any break in confinement could spell disaster. The government has already indicated the lockdown could go beyond mid-April.
"We will be extremely severe. Those who are hospitalized today and are on life-support are those who didn't respect the confinement at the start," Paris police chief Didier Lallement said on Friday at a control point in the capital.
"It's a very simple correlation. If you don't respect the confinement, you will be fined and you're putting yourself and your loved ones in danger and at risk of being in intensive care."