The curfew is to be extended across more departments in eastern and southern France from today and into next week, beginning from 18:00 rather than 20:00.
It comes after 15 departments in the east had already imposed a curfew from 18:00.
The rest of the country remains under a 20:00 curfew, which is set to last until January 20 at least.
The 18:00 curfew is decided depending on several criteria, including if the level of incidence per 100,000 inhabitants over the past seven days is higher than 200. The incidence level among people 65 and over, and the number of beds available in intensive care units, is also taken into account.
Departments currently with a curfew from 18:00
Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-Maritimes, Ardennes, Doubs, Jura, Marne, Haute-Marne, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle, Nièvre, Haute-Saône, Saône-et-Loire, Vosges and Territoire de Belfort.
Departments currently with a curfew from 20:00, set to change to 18:00 from January 10
Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, Côte-d'Or, Cher, Allier, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Vaucluse, and Bouches-du-Rhône.
Departments currently with a curfew from 20:00, set to change to 18:00 from January 12
Var, and Drôme
The new rules come as France announces 20,177 cases in the past 24 hours, and 171 deaths. Since Tuesday January 5, new daily cases have been hovering around 20,000 per day.
Health authority Santé publique France has noted “a clear rise in the number of confirmed cases” which “may be the beginning of the consequences of gatherings at the end of [last] year”.
A new cluster of cases has also been identified in the Bouches-du-Rhône. At least 24 people have tested positive as part of the cluster in Marseille, including at least one with the UK variant of the virus, regional health agency l'Agence régionale de santé (ARS) Paca said.
The town of Bagneux in Hauts-de-Seine is also mounting a “massive testing campaign...to reassure and break the chains of transmission”, said local MP Laurianne Rossi. It comes after one person who works at two schools tested positive with the UK variant.
Vaccinations are continuing apace in France, with the Moderna vaccine expected to arrive in the country this weekend.
Health Minister Olivier Véran said: “We will probably reach the symbolic threshold of 100,000 people vaccinated over the weekend.”
The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is set to be “confirmed before the end of the month”, said Dominique Le Guludec, president of health authority la Haute autorité de santé (HAS), on channel Europe 1.