Five hundred families of coronavirus victims are taking legal action against Italy’s regional and national governments. The civil lawsuit was presented to a Rome court. The officials are deem responsible for a series of omissions, mistakes and delays during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The plaintiffs say the national government and regional authorities in the hard-hit Lombardy region were unprepared for the crisis as the virus hit and did not take actions that could have prevented a national lockdown and subsequent economic damage, as well as loss of life. The legal action which seeks an average compensation of 259,000 euros per person in damages is against Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Health Minister Roberto Speranza and the governor of the northerly Lombardy region, Attilio Fontana.
The lawsuit is brought by members of a committee called “Noi Denunceremo” (we will go to court), set up in April to represent the relatives of people who died in Bergamo. Last week, prosecutors in Bergamo questioned Francesco Zambon, a World Health Organization (WHO) official who co-authored a report on Italy’s response to COVID-19, saying that the response of Italy’s hospitals had been “improvised, chaotic and creative” and “it took some time before formal guidance became available.” The report was published, than removed from the WHO website.