Wednesday, October 20

Relatives of the Italian victims of the Covid will file a lawsuit against prominent politicians | World News

Family members of coronavirus victims in Italy are taking legal action against the prime minister, health minister, and president of the Lombardy region for alleged criminal negligence in handling the pandemic.

The group of 500 families will file their civil suit on Wednesday with prosecutors in the Lombard province of Bergamo, which was severely affected during the first wave of the pandemic. They claim that the three leaders, Giuseppe Conte, Roberto Speranza and Attilio Fontana respectively, have contributed to the nearly 70,000 deaths from Covid-19 in Italy.

The lawsuit centers on the authorities’ move to reopen a hospital in the Bergamo town of Alzano Lombardo, hours after an outbreak occurred there on February 23, and the subsequent lack of immediate quarantine of the town and nearby town. of Nembro, despite the advice of scientists. early March.

A crucial element of the legal action will be the alleged absence of an updated national pandemic plan and the failure of regional authorities to implement a local plan that was supposed to have been developed from the national one.

Consuelo Locati, the lawyer leading the case, is seeking € 259,000 (£ 235,000) in compensation for each of the 500 families who sued.

The legal movement is being driven by members of We will denounce (We Will Report), a group of grieving family members that met in April.

The Noi Denunceremo committee has so far submitted 300 legal complaints, detailing how some of the victims died, to Bergamo prosecutors, who launched an investigation into the authorities’ alleged negligence in June.

Covid deaths in Italy – graph

Locati said that the judicial complaints did not identify crimes or culprits but that the investigation carried out in recent months “has allowed us to identify clear responsibilities,” triggering civil action.

“The government and the region are responsible for violating the rules and for breaching duties,” added Locati. “The law required Italy to have an adequate national plan and for the regional authority to implement an adequate regional plan.”

Locati claims that not only was Italy’s pandemic plan very outdated, it had never been tested to establish whether it worked.

“They had no guidelines,” he said. “And even if [the old plan] was implemented would not have worked since it lacked a series of steps that should have been followed to be prepared for this pandemic “.

Italy was the first European country affected by the pandemic. That its pandemic plan dates back to 2006 was revealed in a report led by World Health Organization (WHO) scientist Francesco Zambon on the country’s initial response to the coronavirus outbreak. The aim of the report was to provide information to countries that had not yet been affected.

The report was posted on the WHO website on May 13, but was removed the next day and all references were removed, The Guardian reported in August. The report’s removal allegedly came at the request of Ranieri Guerra, WHO’s deputy director-general for strategic initiatives.

Guerra was director general of preventive health in the Italian Ministry of Health between 2014 and the end of 2017 and was therefore responsible for updating the pandemic plan according to the new guidelines established by the WHO and the European Center for Prevention and Control of Diseases (ECDC).

Locati claims that Lombardy, which has suffered the brunt of the pandemic, had a regional plan that was not implemented. “Citizens gave the state and regional government the job of protecting their lives and they didn’t,” he said.

Locati, whose father died of Covid-19, added that the goal was not so much financial compensation but for authorities to take responsibility. “It may be just one euro, but what that euro would demonstrate is responsibility and admission of responsibility,” he said.

Luca Fusco, chairman of the Noi Denunceremo committee, said: “The committee sees in this legal action a clear political act, and an attempt to draw a clear line between what is considered acceptable and what should never be acceptable.

“This legal action is our Christmas gift to those who should have done it. [what they were supposed to do], but it did not, while in Italy, on Christmas Day, there will be 70,000 empty chairs. With proper planning, as requested time and again by the EU and WHO, we are sure that there would have been far fewer ”.

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