France's virus death toll is continuing to climb fast, increasing 27 per cent in one day Thursday (Friday NZT) to 1,696 victims, including a 16-year-old.
The overall number of confirmed cases grew 15 per cent over the previous day to more than 29,000, according to national health agency chief Jerome Salomon.
But he acknowledged that the real number is much higher because France is only testing people with severe symptoms.
He said doctors estimate another 42,000 people who have sought medical advice for milder symptoms recently also have the virus.
Salomon did not provide details about the 16-year-old who died, citing medical privacy.
He noted that thousands of people with the virus in France have recovered, and expressed hope that confinement measures would start bringing deaths down soon.
France has reported the fifth-highest number of deaths from the virus of any country.
France's government has come under criticism for its limited number of tests, and for waiting until last week to impose nationwide confinement measures even as the virus spread rapidly in neighbouring Italy and Spain.