The dawn research, confirmed by the Ministry of Health, comes as President Emmanuel Macron announced curfews on around 20 million people in the Paris region and in eight other French metropolises from Friday evening to attempt to slow the tide.
The investigation threatens to rekindle public frustration with a government accused of lying to the public about stocks of masks, underestimating the need for testing and overestimating France’s ability to beat the pandemic – not once, but now twice.
About 1,000 nurses, doctors and other staff from protesting public hospitals marched in Paris on Thursday to demand more investment, staff and higher salaries after years of cutting costs.
A special French court tasked with prosecuting government ministers has ordered an investigation into their complaints.
Among the people whose homes were searched Thursday include the Minister of Health Olivier Veran, his predecessor Agnès Buzyn, the former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, the current head of the country’s national health service Jérôme Salomon, and Sibeth Ndiaye, former government spokesperson. Veran’s office was also raided.
Dr Toro still does not have a high-protection mask for his practice, nine months after the confirmation of the first case of the virus in France. And he says he’s seeing more patients with symptoms of COVID-19 now than he did in the spring.
He and other doctors accuse the government of lying to the public earlier in the year, when senior officials told the public that masks were not necessary even as they struggled to get enough supplies. for French hospitals in the face of growing global demand.
“They should have said there were no masks. That was the real problem, ”he said. “They refused to tell the truth.”
The government said its early indications of not wearing masks were based on a limited understanding of the novel coronavirus at the time.
Asked about Thursday’s research, current Prime Minister Jean Castex did not comment on the investigation but said he had “total” confidence in the Minister of Health to do his job.
The government continues to send mixed messages about the virus. In addition to the curfew in several cities, the Prime Minister announced Thursday a national ban on public marriages, even as the president encouraged the French to travel as usual for the next fall school holidays.
The government said it would deploy 12,000 police officers to enforce the new curfew and spend an additional € 1 billion to help businesses most affected by the latest virus restrictions.
“Our compatriots thought this health crisis was behind us,” Castex said. “But we cannot live normally as long as the virus is here.”
France records nearly 180 cases of the virus per 100,000 people every week, with a total of 22,591 new cases on Wednesday. It reported one of the highest virus-related death rates in the world, with more than 33,000 deaths.