The move is a departure from the government's policy in recent months, which has focused on regionalised restrictions.
"If we are choosing to close down the whole country it's because no area of the country is spared", Macron said.
More than a year after the government in France ordered its first national lockdown to fight back the Covid-19 pandemic, the authorities now seem to have little choice but to do the same again, as infections rise sharply across the country and hospitals in Paris are overflowing. Under the restrictions, all municipalities move to the Red Phase of the state's COVID-19 plan, under which only essential businesses and facilities such as grocery stores, banks, critical industries, and schools, may remain open for on-premises operation.
In addition, Macron promised to speed up the vaccination campaign by giving access to all people aged 60 and over in mid-April, those aged 50 and over in mid-May and the rest of the population a month later.
Stephane Zumsteeg, head of public opinion surveys at the Ipsos pollster in France, said Macron's decision not to lock down in January was a "a daring gamble, but not one that is totally lost".
So far, France has prioritised vaccines for people living in nursing homes and those aged 70 and over, as well as health care workers and people with serious health conditions.
Stephane Zumsteeg, head of public opinion surveys at the Ipsos pollster in France, said voters would ultimately judge Macron's performance based on a comparison of France with its European Union neighbours.
More than 40 ICU and emergency doctors in Paris published an op-ed Sunday in the newspaper Journal du Dimanche, warning that ICUs in the region would reach capacity in the next two weeks if restrictions were not tightened.
NSW records no new COVID cases
Mr Hazzard said "erratic" supply of the AstraZeneca vaccine complicated the NSW government's vaccine rollout. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says the reports are "not true".
Macron reaffirmed his views against a prolonged closure of schools as "increasing social inequalities".
A debate is scheduled in parliament Thursday that will address the virus situation and the new measures.
The coming lockdown will not be as stringent as the first confinement which lasted from March 17-May 11, 2020.
Restrictions already applying in the Paris region and elsewhere will now be extended to the whole country.
After an overnight shift at an ICU in the northern French city of Amiens, Dr. Pauline Caillard described growing numbers of patients and growing strain on medical staff. But Macron said the pace of vaccination would go faster very soon.
"But I do know one thing: we held on, we learned, and we got better every time".
Short of a full lockdown, Macron is running out of alternatives to make a major dent in the renewed surge of infections that has led to growing questions about his government's virus strategies.