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WHO, Italian authorities under scrutiny after reports of removed report revealing Covid-19 mismanagement

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The WHO and the Italian Government has been placed under scruting after allegations of a conspiracy between the health organisation and the country’s health ministry to remove a report revealing the country’s mismanagement at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic – the publication of which was intended to prevent future deaths.

Italy was the first European hotspot of the coronavirus pandemic, and the report, produced by WHO scientist Francesco Zambon and 10 colleagues across Europe, was funded by Kuwait’s government with the objective of providing information to countries yet to be hit.

Called An Unprecedented Challenge: Italy’s First Response to Covid-19, the document was published on the WHO website on 13 May before being taken down the next day, had said that the Italian health authorities’ reaction was “improvised, chaotic and creative”. It took time for formal guidance to become available, the report added.

While newsportals had reported the report’s disappearance the day before, it is now being alleged that the document was allegedly removed at the request of Ranieri Guerra, the WHO’s assistant director general for strategic initiatives. Guerra was the director general for preventive health at the Italian health ministry between 2014 and late 2017, and was therefore responsible for updating the pandemic plan as per new guidelines laid out by the WHO and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Guerra is among the scientists on the Italian government’s Covid-19 taskforce.

The outdated plan is a crucial element in the preliminary investigations being carried out by prosecutors in Bergamo – the Lombardy province hardest hit during the first wave of the pandemic – into possible criminal negligence by authorities. Covid-related deaths in Italy surpassed 60,000 on Sunday, the highest toll in mainland Europe.

via The Guardian

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