Italy allegedly misled the World Well being Group (WHO) on its readiness to face a pandemic lower than three weeks earlier than the nation’s first domestically transmitted coronavirus case was confirmed.

Annually, nations certain by the Worldwide Well being Rules (IHR) – a world treaty to fight the worldwide unfold of illness – are required to file a self-assessment report back to the WHO on the standing of their preparedness for a well being emergency.

Italy undertook its final self-assessment report on four February 2020. In part C8 of the report, seen by the Guardian, the place nations have to guage their total readiness to answer a public well being emergency, the creator marks Italy in ‘degree 5’, which is the best standing of preparedness.

The class states {that a} nation’s “well being sector emergency response coordination mechanism and incident administration system linked with a nationwide emergency operation centre have been examined and up to date repeatedly”.

Nonetheless, it emerged final 12 months that Italy had not up to date its nationwide pandemic plan since 2006, an element which will have contributed to at the least 10,000 Covid-19 deaths in the course of the first wave and which is a key aspect in an investigation into alleged errors by authorities being carried out by prosecutors in Bergamo, the Lombardy province that was severely affected within the pandemic’s early stage.

The self-assessment doc has been given to the Bergamo prosecutors as extra proof in the direction of a civil lawsuit filed by the households of Covid-19 victims in December towards main politicians for alleged legal negligence over their dealing with of the pandemic.

Italy’s first native coronavirus transmission was confirmed on 21 February within the Lombardy city of Codogno, and two days later an outbreak occurred within the hospital of the Bergamo city of Alzano Lombardo. However not like Codogno, which was instantly quarantined together with 9 different cities in Lombardy and one in Veneto, the Alzano Lombardo hospital was reopened just a few hours after the outbreak whereas Bergamo province solely went into lockdown with your entire Lombardy area two weeks later.

Bergamo prosecutors final 12 months questioned Giuseppe Conte, who till earlier this month was prime minister; Roberto Speranza, the well being minister; Luciana Lamorgese, the inside minister; and Attilio Fontana, president of the Lombardy area, as a part of their investigations. Additionally they questioned Giuseppe Ruocco, present common secretary for the well being ministry and a common director of preventive well being from 2012-2014, in January.

Conte, who was questioned by prosecutors final June, informed the Guardian in an interview in October that, if summoned, he can be prepared to be questioned once more, however that he did every thing he probably might do handle a extremely troublesome scenario. Speranza, who was questioned final June and once more in January, has not commented publicly on the investigation, neither have Lamorgese, Fontana or Ruocco.

Ruocco reportedly contradicted Italy’s self-assessment report of February 2020 by confirming to prosecutors that the pandemic plan was final drafted in 2006, regardless of the nation being obliged to replace the plan in response to WHO tips in 2013 and 2018.

In an evaluation of the self-assessment doc compiled by Pier Paolo Lunelli, a retired military common, 60 out of 70 solutions offered by Italy have been judged to be “groundless”. Lunelli wrote in his evaluation, which has been given to prosecutors, that the doc “constitutes a fort of proof which certifies the [level of] unpreparedness we approached the coronavirus emergency with”.

“We lied to the Italian residents claiming we have been prepared,” added Lunelli. “Worse, we tried to deceive even the WHO, the EU and the ‘provident’ European nations, declaring to have capabilities which, within the mild of the information, we didn’t have.”

Italy, which was the primary European nation to be hit by the pandemic, had registered 95,992 coronavirus-related deaths as of Monday – the best toll in Europe after the UK.

Consuelo Locati, the lawyer representing the households behind the civil lawsuit, stated the self-assessment report might symbolize “resounding proof of all of the premises for false illustration”.

Locati is making ready to write down to Italy’s new prime minister, Mario Draghi, to ask for a compensation regulation for the kinfolk of coronavirus victims.

Locati claimed that not solely was Italy’s pandemic plan severely outdated, however that it had by no means been examined to determine if it labored.