Friday, March 5, 2021

Italy cheated WHO on ability to respond to pandemic

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Less than three weeks before the first case of covid-19 transmitted locally in Italy was confirmed, the country would have led the World Health Organization (WHO) to believe it would be ready to face a pandemic.

According to the British newspaper The Guardian, countries bound by the International Health Regulations – a treaty to combat the spread of disease – must submit a self-assessment to WHO on their level of preparedness for a public health emergency.

The last Italian report was delivered on 4 February last year and guarantees that the country was very well prepared for an emergency, assigning a maximum score (5 out of 5) to the category that states that the “health sector emergency response coordination mechanism and the incident management system linked to a national emergency operation center have been tested and updated regularly”.

However, that was not true. Just last year, it was learned that Italy had not updated the national plan to deal with pandemics since 2006, which may have contributed to many more deaths in the first wave than would have been normal if these protocols were in place – at least another 10 thousand.

The report, according to the British newspaper, is essential for the ongoing investigation of Italian prosecutors, who seek to understand the mistakes that were made by the country’s authorities during the first wave, following a civil action brought by the families of victims of the covid- 19.

The first local transmission of coronavirus in Italy was confirmed on February 21, 2020 in the city of Codogno, Lombardy, and two days later an outbreak occurred at the hospital in the city of Alzano Lombardo in Bergamo.

Conte, who was questioned by prosecutors last June, told the The Guardian who, if summoned, would be willing to be questioned again, but who did everything he could to manage a really difficult situation.

Already Giuseppe Ruocco, current secretary-general of the Ministry of Health and former director-general of preventive health (2012-2014), will have confirmed that the plan for the pandemic had not been updated for 14 years, contrary to WHO guidelines.

In an analysis of the document, Pier Paolo Lunelli, a retired army general who investigated the matter, said 60 of the 70 responses provided by the country were “unfounded”.

According to Lunelli, who submitted his analysis to the Public Ministry, the document is “a castle of evidence that certifies the [nível de] unpreparedness with which ”the country approached covid-19.

“We lied to Italian citizens, claiming that we were ready”, added Lunelli. “Worse still, we try to deceive WHO, the EU and the ‘provident’ European countries by declaring that they have capabilities that, in light of the facts, we did not have,” he concluded.

To date, Italy has accumulated nearly 96,000 deaths from complications associated with covid-19. According to the platform Our World in Data, which is based on official data, 1,587 deaths per million people are at stake, placing the country in fifth place in this ranking.

Sofia Teixeira Santos Sofia Teixeira Santos, ZAP //

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The Ministers of Agriculture and Communications sign a cooperation agreement to implement applied research projects

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Italy cheated WHO on ability to respond to pandemic