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Covid-19

Ex-PM Philippe grilled by French parliament over handling of Covid crisis

Former French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe (right) and health minister Olivier Véran are under enquiry for the government's handling of the Covid-19 crisis.
Former French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe (right) and health minister Olivier Véran are under enquiry for the government's handling of the Covid-19 crisis. REUTERS - GONZALO FUENTES
2 min

Former French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has appeared before a parliamentary commission of inquiry as part of a probe into the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis.

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Philippe is one of four former and current ministers who are being investigated as part of the inquiry.

Health Minister Olivier Véran is also to face questions alongside his predecessor Agnès Buzyn.

Last week, searches were conducted at the homes and offices of both Philippe and Véran.

Searches were also conducted at the home and office of the director of public health Jérôme Salomon.

The inquiry was opened by the Court of Justice of the Republic, after dozens of complaints accusing the authorities failing to act fast enough to the crisis. The Paris prosecutor's office also opened an investigation into accusations of manslaughter and endangering the life of others. 

Critics accuse the government of being too slow to roll out large-scale Covid-19 testing and playing down the importance of wearing masks at the outset of the pandemic.

Close to 34,000 people have died in France since the outbreak of Covid-19. The country is currently in the middle of the second wave of the epidemic with daily infection figures showing a sharp rise. 

Starting Saturday, the government has imposed night-time curfew in nine metropolitan regions in France to stem the rising cases.

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