Ex-French PM faces probe into COVID-19 response

Hong Kong

Paris, July 4 (IANS) A French court has launched an inquiry into the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, focusing mainly on three senior figures, including former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, following complaints from unions and doctors.

On Friday, Philippe resigned amid a cabinet reshuffle, reports the BBC.

Hours after Philippe’s resignation, it was announced that the Law Court of the Republic, which deals with claims of ministerial misconduct, would open an inquiry into the way his government handled the pandemic.

Along with thilippe, those under investigation include Agnes Buzyn, who stepped down as health minister in February, and her successor Olivier Veran, senior public prosecutor Francois Molin said on Friday.

Philippe’s future as Prime Minister had been in doubt for several weeks and he will now take up the post of mayor in Le Havre, after winning the local vote on Sunday.

His successor, Jean Castex, 55, is little known in France, but he is a senior civil servant and has played a key role in the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, said the BBC report.

On Friday evening, Castex warned in a speech that “the health crisis is, unfortunately, not over” and that “the economic and social crisis is already here”.

France has so far reported 202,673 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 29,875 deaths.

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