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Prosecutors ask to successfully shut case towards prime Italian, WHO officers over COVID-19 response

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Rome prosecutors have requested a decide to archive an investigation into Italian and U.N. well being officers over Italy’s 2020 Covid-19 response

ByThe Related Press

November 23, 2023, 1:00 PM

ROME — Rome prosecutors requested a decide Thursday to successfully shut an investigation into Italian and U.N. well being officers over Italy’s 2020 Covid-19 response with out prices, on the grounds that no crimes had been dedicated, a lawyer stated.

Rome prosecutors Claudia Terracina and Paolo Ielo requested to archive the investigation that had grabbed headlines given Italy’s big toll as t he first epicenter of the pandemic in Europe. Whereas the decide can override the request, such a choice is very unlikely.

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Already prosecutors had closed their case with out submitting prices towards three of Italy’s previous well being ministers. On Thursday, they requested a decide to archive the case towards 9 different officers, together with a former prime official on the World Well being Group, Dr. Ranieri Guerra, stated his lawyer Roberto De Vita.

The investigation initially centered on whether or not delayed lockdowns within the hard-hit northern metropolis of Bergamo contributed to the toll, however expanded to incorporate whether or not Italy’s total preparedness going into the disaster performed a job.

Included was controversy over a WHO report into Italy’s response that was revealed by the U.N. well being company in Could 2020 after which taken down a day later and by no means republished.

A former WHO official, Francesco Zambon, had recommended that WHO spiked the report back to spare the Italian authorities criticism that its pandemic preparedness plan hadn’t been up to date. WHO stated it was pulled as a result of it contained inaccuracies and was revealed prematurely.

Guerra had been the previous head of the division of prevention within the Italian well being ministry till 2017 and was a WHO envoy to Italy through the pandemic. De Vita stated prosecutors decided the pandemic plan was within the means of being up to date.

He welcomed the choice to archive the case, saying it ought to have been closed two years in the past as quickly as Guerra offered documentation to prosecutors exhibiting he had acted appropriately.

In an announcement, Guerra stated his fame had been “gravely” harmed by the controversy and lashed out at those that had accused him of not defending Italy.

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