Conte’s defense against the words of the prosecutor: the decision not to close Alzano and Nembro after the scientists’ opinion – La Stampa


ROME. The words of Bergamo Deputy Prosecutor Maria Cristina Rota do not go down to Giuseppe Conte, regarding the failure to establish the red zone in the Lombard municipalities of Nembro and Alzano. “As far as we know, it is a government decision,” the magistrate had said Friday evening, outside the courthouse, after listening to the facts reconstructed by the speaker of the President of the Lombardy Region Attilio Fontana. A statement that in fact seems to exonerate the governor from the accusation of having underestimated the risk of the pandemic. Indeed, he would espouse his theses, because shortly before, during his testimony, Fontana had reiterated: “It was not disputed that the decision was up to the government.” With those words, therefore, the prosecutor definitely points the finger at who in the convulsive and dramatic hours of the days of early March from Rome was making epochal decisions.

Also for this reason, almost immediately, just an hour after Rota’s declarations, a clarification emerges from Palazzo Chigi, entrusted, however, not to the Prime Minister, but to the competent Minister for Regional Affairs, Francesco Boccia. Which states that, according to the law of 1978 and the decree n.6 of 2020, “even the Region could establish the red zone”. The issue has been dragging on for almost three months and has propped up the entire period of the lockdown with a rebound of mutual accusations between the government and Lombardy. The Prime Minister came back to it several times, prompted by the repeated questions of journalists and the investigations of the reporters, as well as by the questions of the citizens of the area most affected by Covid-19. The clarification of the power of attorney, however, is another thing and the risk – Conte knows – is that a shadow can be stretched over his responsibilities, referable to days when the pressures of the industrial world and of the local Confindustria, not to close, were for all to see.

The prime minister has not yet been called to provide his version by the prosecutors, and wants to avoid at all costs to get involved in the classic controversy between politics and the judiciary. In reality, Conte hopes that the prosecutor has simply expressed himself badly. But he still wants to reiterate his defensive thesis, contained in a clarification note where what happened between 3 and 8 March, between Rome, Milan and the province of Bergamo, is reconstructed day by day, while all of Italy was waiting to understand what the new red areas would have been after Codogno, in the Lodi area, and the few municipalities in the Veneto affected by the coronavirus. “Ultimately – explains the note – there is no argument from the Lombardy Region to bring disputes to the national government or other local authorities”. According to Conte, Lombardy had full powers and competences to intervene, attributable precisely to the 1978 law and the 2020 decree, as demonstrated by the further restrictive measures adopted both by other regions and by Lombardy itself in the following days (21.22 and 23 March) .

But interesting is the whole previous part of the note, which tries to explain how and who made those decisions. What is certain, reading the reconstruction, is that there has been a delay. Alzano Lombardo and Nembro were not treated like Codogno. And they were the subject of debate and doubts for several days, in the communication between the government, the technical-scientific committee that supports its choices and Lombardy.

“In the late afternoon of Tuesday 3 March 2020, the epidemiological data relating to the trend of contagion in the Lombardy region and, in particular, those concerning two municipalities in the province of Bergamo, arrived at the Technical-scientific Committee, meeting at the Civil Protection headquarters. (Alzano Lombardo and Nembro) ». Two municipalities, remember, that worried about the proximity to the city of Bergamo. Based on those data, the committee “proposed to adopt further restrictive measures similar to those already adopted for the municipalities of the so-called” red zone “, in order to limit the spread of the infection in adjoining areas”. Meanwhile, on March 4, the Prime Minister’s decree arrives, suspending school and university lessons. Conte wants to see us clearly and “investigate” with the members of the technical-scientific committee the reasons for the request to adopt the red zone also in Nembro and Alzano. These are days when the extent of the pandemic is still not completely clear. There are resistances from the industrial world that will last for days. The most pressing is Marco Bonometti of Confindustria Lombardia who will still say in a note on 11 March: “It is essential to keep companies open”.

On March 5 the technical-scientific committee is closing. This is a fact. As it is that Conte does not make a decision and even Governor Fontana does not. The defensive note continues: “The epidemiological picture of the days 3 and 4 March, in fact, returned a situation that was now critical in various areas of the Lombardy region”. According to Conte, “it therefore appeared necessary to acquire further elements”. Late in the evening of 5 March, the President of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Professor Silvio Brusaferro, sends a note to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health and confirms: given the incidence of new cases and the close proximity to a city, Alzano and Nembro are inserted in the “red zone”.

The following day, Friday 6 March, Conte wants to make a final decision on the two municipalities of the Bergamasco. He goes to the Civil Protection headquarters where the technical-scientific committee is present. An evaluation of the data is made and, after comparison with other areas of the country, a solution called “much more rigorous” is chosen. All of Lombardy becomes a “red zone”, while in the rest of the country containment measures remain less rigid. Consequently, “a choice of this tenor would have led to the overcoming of the special regime reserved for single municipalities (the so-called” red zone “for the ten Lombard municipalities and the Veneto municipality)”. It is useless to close, in short, Alzano and Nembro: “Given the vastness of the infection” the entire region had to be tightened. The committee ends its work on Saturday 7 March. During the night, the Prime Minister signs the decree.

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