France reports daily COVID cases record of nearly 9,000

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France registered nearly 9,000 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, the highest daily figure since the pandemic swept into the country last March, the country's health agency said Friday.

The total of 8,975 reported infections from Thursday to Friday came as authorities have increased testing capacities nationwide, but the caseload was still sharply above the 7,000 seen in recent days.

In addition, 53 new outbreak clusters were reported, and 46 patients were placed in , bringing the current total to 473.

As of September 1, France has registered 30,661 coronavirus deaths, according to the Sante Publique France health agency, which warned again on Thursday of an "exponential" increase in new cases.

It said the "R" rate of viral transmission remains at 1.3 nationwide, meaning 10 infected people are infecting 13 others on average.

While more than 90 percent of fatal cases involve people over 65, "transmission is mainly among ", Sante Publique said.

The latest figures come as Paris and other cities have started requiring in all public areas, including for children above 11 who returned to school this week.

But residents in some cities have been pushing back, seeking eased mask rules in public, for example at night or in areas where crowds do not generally gather.

On Friday, a court in the southeastern of Lyon ordered the authorities to soften the rules to take "local circumstances" into account, though for now the strict requirement remains in effect.

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