French doctors have filed a complaint against the country’s Prime Minister for not taking timely action to contain the COVID-19 epidemic despite having been warned of its danger.
The complaint has been sent to the Petitions Commission of the Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR), the only body in France empowered to judge acts committed by members of the government in the exercise of their duties.
In the complaint sent on 19th March, the three doctors, identified as Philippe Naccache, Emmanuel Sarrazin and Ludovic Toro, believe that Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and former Health Minister Agnes Buzyn “were aware of the danger and had the means of action, which they chose not to exercise” to stop the spread of the coronavirus in France.
Former minister Buzyn told a media source that she had alerted the Prime Minister in January to the seriousness of the coronavirus epidemic and warned him that “elections would probably not be held”.
The complainants then accused Philippe and Buzyn, a doctor by profession, of having “voluntarily refrained from taking or provoking measures to combat a disaster likely to create a danger to personal safety”, in this case, the COVID-19 epidemic, which is punishable by two years’ imprisonment and a fine of 30,000 EUR (27,895 GBP).
The lawyers of the plaintiffs say that if the government had taken drastic measures instead, “it would undoubtedly have helped to curb the epidemic by reducing the number of people infected, and thus the number of people likely to contaminate others”.
In response to the controversy, Edouard Phillipe told a local media outlet: “If we hadn’t taken this health event seriously, I wouldn’t have called a meeting in January and made some tough decisions.”
He continues: “A few months ago, there were people saying ‘you’re doing too much’ or ‘you’re not doing enough’.
“In a few months, some people will say, ‘we should have done it differently. These controversies, I know them, I assume them.”
On Wednesday, Public Accounts Minister Gerald Darmanin assured citizens that the government did not know in February that the coronavirus epidemic would lead France to know the current situation, saying that no decision taken by the government had been contrary to the choices of scientists.
To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Ernest Bio Bogore, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
The Ananova page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.