Italian PM Conte questioned for three hours over coronavirus response

WION Web Team
New Delhi Updated: Jun 13, 2020, 12:10 PM(IST)

File photo: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The prosecutors from Bergamo, one of the northern cities hit hardest by the pandemic, are looking into why badly affected small towns around the city were not locked down earlier in the outbreak, when infections were rising fast.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was questioned by prosecutors on Friday about the country's response to its coronavirus outbreak, which has killed more than 34,000 people, reported news agency Reuters.

The prosecutors from Bergamo, one of the northern cities hit hardest by the pandemic, are looking into why badly affected small towns around the city were not locked down earlier in the outbreak, when infections were rising fast.

Conte, who was questioned as a witness for three hours in his office in Rome and is not under criminal investigation, later told reporters via his spokesman: "I wanted to explain every stage to the smallest detail."

Prosecutors also questioned Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese and Health Minister Roberto Speranza.

In interviews with several Italian newspapers on Friday, Conte said he would tell prosecutors everything he knew and was not worried by the possibility he could be personally investigated.

If that did happen, it would be likely to weaken an already fractious coalition government and add fuel to already frequent speculation that Conte may be pushed out despite his high personal approval ratings in opinion polls.

Prosecutor Maria Cristina Rota said the meeting had taken place "in an atmosphere of great calm and institutional collaboration".

The region of Lombardy, which includes Bergamo, was the original epicentre of Italy's virus outbreak and has remained by far the worst hit of its 20 regions, accounting for about half of its total deaths and most new infections.

(With inputs from Reuters) 

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