Paris and several other major French cities are to be placed under a 9pm curfew after the French government declared a public health state of emergency.

The curfews will take effect from Saturday, and will run daily from 9:00 pm until 6:00 am the following morning, President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview broadcast on national television.

Mr Macron said curfews would be imposed in the greater Paris region, Marseille, Toulouse, Montpellier and five other cities. They will remain in place for four weeks.

“We have to react,” he said in an interview on national television. The president said France had not lost control of the virus, but added: “We are in a worrying situation.”

On Saturday France recorded 26,000 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily figure since the start of the pandemic. The number of Covid-19 patients in hospital has risen to more than 9,100 for the first time since the end of June.

The government previously declared a state of emergency in March (REUTERS)

The French government previously declared a public health state of emergency in March this year, when hospitalisations caused by the epidemic were near their peak.

At the time, the authorities used their extra powers to order people to stay at home except for essential work, buying food or taking one hour of daily exercise.

The state of emergency was lifted in mainland France in July, after the number of Covid-19 cases subsided.