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Coronavirus in Italy: Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte declares to prosecute investigators delaying in declaring the “red zone”



The head of government gave testimony for three hours at the government headquarters in Rome, the Palazzo Chigi, in the framework of the open investigation into how his management affected the municipalities of Nembro and Alzano Lombardo, in the Bergamo region.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte declared this Friday before the prosecution of the city of Bergamo (north) , as part of the investigation into his management of the coronavirus crisis, his cabinet reported. The team of investigators, led by prosecutor Maria Cristina Rota, listened to him “as a person informed of the facts”, without attributing any crime to him.

The head of government gave a statement for three hours at the government headquarters in Rome, the Palazzo Chigi , as part of the investigation opened for the delay in declaring the municipalities of Nembro and Alzano Lombardo in the region a “red zone”. Bergamo, in March, in full expansion of the epidemic, which has caused more than 34,000 deaths across the country. The prosecution also heard the testimony at the same headquarters of the Minister of the Interior, Luciana Lamorgese, and the Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza.

The aim is to establish technically who were responsible for declaring the “red zones” during the start of the epidemic , which pit the central government against the authorities in the Lombardy region. Throughout the health crisis, the dispute over the management of the epidemic has been constant between the national administration, formed by the 5-Star Movement and the Democratic Party (PD, center-left), and the Lombard, on which Bergamo depends and where the right-wing League rules.

Conte, who acknowledged last Wednesday that he made all the decisions “with conscience” , has assured on several occasions that the Lombardy Region “had all the instruments” to act, as other regions did. Both the association of relatives of victims of the coronavirus, as well as some parties and unions, attribute the delay in that they put economic interests before those of health, since it is a prosperous industrial area, with more than 400 factories.

Prosecutors have already spoken with the governor of Lombardy , Attilio Fontana, as well as his advisor in this crisis, Giulio Gallera, with whom they analyzed the decisions made in late February and the one adopted on March 7 to close all Lombardy in the face of the rapid spread of the coronavirus. In addition, they will take a statement from the director of the Higher Institute of Health, Silvio Brusaferro, and Walter Ricciardi, adviser to the central government.

During their statements, Fontana and Gallera defended that the decision was from the central government , something in which the deputy prosecutor of Bergamo, Maria Cristina Rota, agreed, who said that establishing a red zone was the responsibility of Rome. On the other hand, relatives of victims of Covid-19 have filed private complaints this Wednesday with the Prosecutor’s Office. All of them are members of the association Noi Denunceremo (We will denounce) created on Facebook during the pandemic.

In statements before the Prosecutor’s Office, its president and founder, Luca Fusco, explained that they are looking for “the truth of what happened in Lombardy and not only in Lombardy, in order to identify those responsible and have justice.” The relatives also want to meet with the President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, who will visit Bergamo on June 28.

Fusco has defended that the area should have closed on February 23 and not on March 8 , as it finally happened. “For 15 days we have traveled, worked, drunk coffee and had an aperitif and at that point the virus circulated without problems.”

“I am convinced that if the red zone of the province of Bergamo had been closed quickly, perhaps we would not have had to close all of Lombardy and we probably would have avoided Italian confinement,” he said. “We do not point the finger at anyone, it will be the prosecution that will have to clarify responsibilities,” he added.

With information from AFP and Europa Press

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