Police searches French Health Minister’s residence amid enquiry

Olivier Veran

As part of an enquiry into the French governments handling of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, police on Thursday searched the personal residence of Health Minister Olivier Veran.

A BBC report said that Veran is one of several current and former Ministers being investigated into their response to the pandemic.

Also being probed is former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

In a statement, the Health Ministry said that Thursday morning’s search operations had taken place “without difficulty”, while legal proceedings were underway.

The enquiry was triggered after Covid-19 victims accused the government officials of being too slow to act to check the spread of the virus, the BBC report added.

This development comes a day after President Emmanuel Macron’s announcement that a curfew will be introduced in big cities as a reaction to the recent resurgence of new cases.

Starting from Friday midnight, a four-week 9 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew will be imposed in the greater Paris region and the eight major cities of Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Aix-Marseille, Rouen, Toulouse, Montpellier and Saint-Etienne, Xinhua news agency reported.

These regions are already on maximum alert, with bars and gyms shut down, theatres and restaurants under strict health protocol.

Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited in public spaces such as beaches and parks.

Anyone violating the curfew would be fined 135 euros, and permissions will be available for those who have health emergencies and work at night.

Presently, France has a total of 779,063 Covid-19 cases, Europe’s second biggest tally after Spain, with 33,037 deaths.