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Sat Dec 12, 2020, 08:41 PM

WHO accused of conspiring with Italy to remove damning Covid report

The World Health Organization has been accused of conspiring with the Italian health ministry to remove a report revealing the country’s mismanagement at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic – the publication of which was intended to prevent future deaths.

Italy was the first European country to become engulfed by the pandemic. The report, produced by the WHO scientist Francesco Zambon and 10 colleagues across Europe, was funded by Kuwait’s government with the objective of providing information to countries yet to be hit.

Called An Unprecedented Challenge: Italy’s First Response to Covid-19, the document was published on the WHO website on 13 May before being taken down the next day, as first reported by the Guardian in August. The 102-page report said Italy’s pandemic plan had not been updated since 2006 and that, due to being unprepared, the initial response from hospitals was “improvised, chaotic and creative”. It took time for formal guidance to become available, the report added.

The document was allegedly removed at the request of Ranieri Guerra, the WHO’s assistant director general for strategic initiatives. Guerra was the director general for preventive health at the Italian health ministry between 2014 and late 2017, and was therefore responsible for updating the pandemic plan as per new guidelines laid out by the WHO and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Guerra is among the scientists on the Italian government’s Covid-19 taskforce.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/11/who-accused-conspiring-italy-remove-damning-covid-report

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