Italy. Coronavirus. Photograph:( AFP )
The legal action targets PM Giuseppe Conte Health Minister Roberto Speranza and the president of the Lombardy region, Attilio Fontana
About 500 relative of coronavirus victims are suing Italian state for 100 million euros (USD 122 million) alleging failure in early stages of the coronavirus pandemic. A group by the name of "Noi Denunceremo" (We Will Denounce) is driving the action. The group has already filed around 300 complaints in prosecutors in Lombardy region. This region has suffered most from first wave of the virus.
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The legal action targets PM Giuseppe Conte Health Minister Roberto Speranza and the president of the Lombardy region, Attilio Fontana, the group said in a statement.
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Italy was the first country outside China to suffer a major outbreak of coronavirus and remains one of the worst hit, with almost 70,000 reported deaths so far.
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The lawsuit alleges "serious omissions" by the Lombardy and central governments, starting with a decision to reopen the Alzano hospital on February 23 after it was shut following the detection of the first Covid-19 cases.
The statement also cited a "severe delay" in closing off the infected towns of Alzano and Nembro, as well as a lack of up-to-date pandemic plans at both local and regional levels.
"This proceeding is to be considered a Christmas gift to those who should have done what they were supposed to do and did not do, while in Italy on December 25, there will be 70,000 empty chairs," said Noi Denunceremo president Luca Fusco.
"With proper planning, as requested over and over again by the European Union and World Health Organization, we are sure there would have been many fewer."
Half of the coronavirus deaths recorded in Italy have been since mid-July, when infections reached their lowest point, which means that the second wave looks set to be least as deadly as the first.
(With AFP inputs)