Museums and libraries across French cities are recommended to limit their activities or to close their doors
The number of coronavirus cases increased by 785 in one day, while 18 more people died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. In addition, 154 others were hospitalized in intensive care, up form 129 registered on Thursday.
French Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Friday that the country's coronavirus cases totaled 3,661, of which 79 had died as the virus was spreading fast, forcing the closure of schools, museums and the suspension of all major sporting events.
"The virus is accelerating. We must curb it more than ever," Veran said.
"There is still time to adapt to the new realities, to strictly change our behavior to protect the weakest," he said, calling on people to limit their unnecessary journey, restrict visit to elderly people, respect barrier gestures and avoid physical contact.
Early on Friday, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe decided to ban gatherings of more than 100 participants across the country. The government had previously prohibited all the gathering in public places which could draw more than 1,000 individuals.
"The idea is to make sure that we can slow the spread. The circulation of the virus and this ban will be applied across the national territory and immediately," Philippe told TF1 television.
As a result, museums and libraries across French cities are recommended to limit their activities or to close their doors. In its Twitter account, the landmark Louvre Museum said it will shut down on Friday evening until further notice.
The Operating Company of the Eiffel Tower announced the closure of the country's iconic monument at 21:00 local time (2000 GMT) on Friday, hoping "to reopen very soon when the sanitary situation will allow it."
Amateur and professional sports clubs are invited to limit their activities to groups of maximum 10 people, Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu announced. All major soccer matches were suspended.
All nurseries, schools, colleges, high schools and universities in the country will be closed from Monday and "as long as it is necessary."
Businesses are encouraged to allow employees to work remotely while students will take classes online.
"We are just at the beginning of this crisis," warned President Emmanuel Macron in a televised speech on Thursday focusing on the COVID-19.
"One principle that guides us to anticipate and manage this crisis is confidence in science and listening to those who know," Macron added.