Former Italian PM Giuseppe Conte faces probe over Covid response Italy

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Italian prosecutors have placed former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, former Health Minister Roberto Speranza and 17 others under investigation on suspicion of “aggravating the pandemic” and murder in connection with the government’s response at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The investigation launched by prosecutors in Bergamo, the Lombardy province worst affected during the first wave of the virus, follows a preliminary investigation that began in mid-2020 and was conducted by relatives of COVID-19 victims .

Attilio Fontana, Lombardy’s recently re-elected president, and Giulio Gallera, the region’s former health councillor, are also being investigated, with authorities taking adequate measures to stop the spread of the virus by quarantining the towns of Alzano Lombardo and Nembro. Alleged failure to do so after the outbreak occurred there.

Bergamo recorded an additional 6,000 deaths during the first wave of the virus, and prosecutors say 4,000 could have been prevented if areas had been quarantined immediately.

Another key element of the investigation would be the alleged absence of an updated national pandemic plan, which dates back to 2006.

Italy was the first European country known to be hit by a large outbreak of the virus, with the first case confirmed in Codogno in southern Lombardy on 21 February 2020. Two days later, there was an outbreak at the hospital in Alzano Lombardo. However, unlike Codogno, which was immediately isolated along with nine other towns in Lombardy and one in Veneto, the Alzano Lombardo hospital was reopened hours after the outbreak, while the province of Bergamo only two weeks later as did the entire Lombardy region. Went into lockdown with.

Prosecutor Antonio Chiappani, who led the investigation, said the preliminary investigation included the analysis of “a considerable amount of documents” as well as emails and telephone messages belonging to the suspects.

The suspects will have time to present their defense before a judge, who will then decide whether or not to send them to trial.

Conte, who now leads the Five Star Movement, the party that led the government in coalition with the centre-left Democratic Party at the time of the Covid outbreak, said he was ready to cooperate with the judiciary immediately. “I am calm in the face of the country and the Italian citizens, for having acted with the utmost commitment and responsibility during one of the most difficult moments experienced by our republic,” he said.

Speranza, who remained health minister until the fall of Mario Draghi’s government last summer, said he felt “very calm and certain” that he had always acted “with discipline and respect in the special interest of the country”.

Fontana told Radio Anchio: “It is shameful that a person who was heard at the beginning of the investigation as a person with knowledge of the facts should find out from the newspapers that he has been turned into a suspect.”

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Galera said he had not yet received official information about the investigation, but he felt calm and would cooperate with the judiciary.

“We faced Covid with our bare hands and based on what little information we had, we made the most appropriate decisions to deal with the emergency,” he said.

Consuelo Locati, a lawyer representing the families involved in the investigation, said the story of the “massacres in Bergamo and Lombardy” was being rewritten.

“We feel honored because the prosecutor has honored our loved ones who are no longer here and is answering the questions we started asking three years ago,” said Lokati, whose father died of Covid-19. Happened from

“All this time, the institutions never responded; He instead tried to rewrite the narrative of the story.

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