France has seen the highest number of coronavirus cases in five months when Emmanuel Macron insisted the country "do everything possible to avoid another lockdown".
It found that 7,379 people across the channel were found infected with the virus on Friday – just below the record high of 7,578 on March 31.
The numbers represented what the Department of Health called an exponential increase just days before millions of children are due to go back to school for the first time since March.
It comes as a second wave continues to grow across Europe. Portugal is the youngest country to report a surge in coronavirus cases, raising fears it could be placed on the UK government's quarantine list.
France has seen the highest number of coronavirus cases in five months after it was found on Friday that 7,379 people were infected with the virus
Portugal is the youngest country to see an increase. In Spain, France and Italy, the number of coronavirus cases has risen sharply as a second wave of infections has started across Europe
A man is being tested for coronavirus in Paris after a huge spike in cases, sparking fears of a new lockdown
President Macron, who wore face-covering yesterday, said it was dangerous to rule out a scenario
The surge has opened up the possibility that the government may be forced to close the country again, and President Macron told journalists it was dangerous to rule out a scenario.
"We are doing everything we can to avoid a further lockdown, and in particular a nationwide lockdown," President Emmanuel Macron told journalists on Friday. He added that it would be dangerous to rule out a scenario.
In a weekly review of the pandemic, the Ministry of Health said the country was seeing "an exponential rate of virus transmission."
Like other hard-hit Western European countries, France imposed a sudden and severe lockdown in March, with most residents confined to their homes.
The restrictions were gradually lifted starting May 11 after infections dropped sharply.
Authorities are now looking for ways to limit the spread of the disease without another lockdown.
On Friday, Parisians were ordered to wear masks outdoors at all times in the capital.
The reopening of schools on Tuesday next week was widely expected as an important step back toward normalcy.
More than 12 million children will be returning to school, most for the first time in more than five months.
So far, the rapid increase in the number of cases has not resulted in a similar increase in hospital stays or deaths.
The ministry reported 20 new COVID-19 deaths on Friday, bringing the cumulative total to 30,596.
The number of people hospitalized with the disease was unchanged at 4,535 and the number in the intensive care unit increased by six to 387.
Authorities say the virus is now spreading among younger people who are less likely to show severe symptoms.
Two weeks after France's lockdown ended on May 11, the number of new daily infections fell to a low of 115 and a 7-day average low of 272.
However, as the country gradually reopened restaurants, museums, and shopping malls, the number of newly confirmed cases rose to around 500 a day by the end of June.
By the end of July this value doubled to around 1,000 per day, by mid-August again to around 2,000 and this week rose to over 5,000.
Meanwhile, Border Force officials only want to screen less than a third of arrivals at UK airports on the ground.
The government has put in place measures requiring passengers coming to the UK to fill out an online form before entering the UK from any country.
This includes countries or areas not on the mandatory self-isolation list and guidelines state that the form must be completed within 48 hours of returning to the UK.
However, according to a Guardian source, a target of just 30 percent has been set for agents who check passenger papers upon arrival in the country.
The Parisians pictured today in the French capital have now been ordered to wear masks outside at all times
Passengers entering the UK from a number of countries including France and the Netherlands are expected to self-isolate. The government uses data from completed online forms to ensure this is done correctly.
However, sources said that of the 30 percent screened by Border Force on-site, 10 percent had not completed any forms.
Border guards are expected to manually scan a QR code at the top of the passenger document to verify that it was successfully completed upon arrival in the country.
This is also to ensure that the government can contact passengers if someone they have been traveling with develops coronavirus symptoms.