(Bloomberg) -- France will try to avoid any new health rules including a lockdown in the face of rising coronavirus cases and the spread of the omicron variant, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.

“We should do the maximum to avoid any new health restrictions,” he said Sunday in an interview with Europe 1, Les Echos and CNews. Unlike some European countries, the government isn’t in favor of making vaccines mandatory, he said.

Le Maire was speaking ahead of a defense council meeting Monday to consider how to counter the latest wave of Covid-19, the advance of the omicron variant in the country and the rising numbers of people in intensive care. The finance minister rejected the idea of another lockdown, saying this would hurt morale and the upcoming Christmas holidays.  

Restaurants and the hospitality industry are among sectors that are getting hit by the latest wave because events are being canceled, Le Maire said, adding that the government will back them financially.

“The variant, as I am speaking, won’t have an impact on French growth,” he said.  


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