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10 Nov, 2020 16:07

Paris prosecutor's office advances criminal investigation into alleged mismanagement of Covid-19 in France

Paris prosecutor's office advances criminal investigation into alleged mismanagement of Covid-19 in France

Four judicial inquiries have begun into the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in France, with criminal charges under consideration including "voluntary abstention from fighting a disaster" and "endangering the life of others."

On Tuesday, five months after opening a wide preliminary inquiry into the potential mismanagement of the Covid pandemic in France, the Paris prosecutor's office decided to escalate the investigation.

The public prosecutor, Remy Heitz, claimed that the inquiry would focus on the impact of public decision-making on healthcare workers, public servants and those who were infected with, or died from, Covid-19.

"These procedures bring together 253 of the 328 complaints involving decision-makers and national public structures to which has been addressed to the Paris prosecutor's office since March 24, 2020," said Heitz.

A preliminary inquiry was open on June 8 to determine whether any criminal offenses might have been committed, with Heitz saying it was not aimed at determining "political or administrative responsibility," but whether "possible criminal offenses" had been committed by national authorities.

Lines of inquiry have focused on complaints lodged by members of the public since the start of the pandemic, including health protection at work and provision of masks and tests.

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France is currently fighting its second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and registered a record 86,852 infections on Saturday.

There is some indication that lockdowns and other restrictive measures may be starting to slow the spread of the virus. Government data showed the infection rate in France standing at 430 per 100,000 people on Friday, a reduction from 498 per 100,000 on the last day of October.

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