France on Saturday reported 441 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours, lower than the record number of 588 recorded the previous day.
This brought the total number of deaths to 7,560 since the epidemic began, top health official Jerome Salomon told reporters. Of these, 5,532 died in hospital and 2,028 in old age facilities.
Salomon said there were now 28,143 people with coronavirus in hospital in France -- up 711 from the day before, with 6,838 of them in intensive care -- a daily increase of 176 critical patients.
France has been in lockdown since March 17 in a bid to slow the spread of the epidemic, with only essential trips allowed that must be justified with a signed piece of paper.
"The COVID-19 pandemic is completely unprecedented with thousands of serious cases and thousands of deaths," Salomon said.
There have been 68,605 confirmed coronavirus cases in France, but this is not the total as testing for the virus is not universal.
While there has been a slowing in the rate of new intensive care admissions, Salomon warned that "now is not the time to relax the effort. I tell you this evening: Stay at home to save lives."