Paris (hooly News) – Barely turned the page of its stinging defeat in the municipal elections in Paris, the former Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn finds himself in the hot seat Tuesday, facing the deputies eager to “learn the lessons” from the crisis coronavirus.
She who assured on January 23 that France was “extremely well prepared” for this epidemic that had appeared in China a month earlier, on the eve of the discovery of the first two cases on the territory, will be invited by the commission of inquiry of the National Assembly to justify itself on the state of preparedness of the country to the risks of pandemic.
The former minister will be all the more awaited at the turning point since she chose to leave the ministry in a hurry on February 16 to wear the colors of the LREM majority in the campaign in Paris, after having assured a few days earlier of having “an agenda very busy “, due in particular to the coronavirus crisis.
Long described as the “good student” of the government, Agnès Buzyn will also have to explain her controversial interview with hooly-news.com, the day after the first round of the municipal elections, where she claimed in particular to have “alerted the Director General of Health” from the December 20 and “sent a message to the President on the situation” on January 11.
“I will give my explanations to the parliamentary commission of inquiry and with great pleasure,” she said on June 20.
A question will be at the heart of the debates: who is responsible for the evaporation of the strategic state stock of protective masks?
In April 2010, it reached 1 billion surgical masks and 700 million more protective FFP2 masks, Didier Houssin, director general of health (DGS), told the commission of inquiry from June 24, 2005 to 2011.
But at the beginning of 2020, this stock was reduced to 117 million surgical masks for adults, 40 million pediatric masks, and no more reserves of FFP2.
– “Deliberate choices” –
During the commission’s first hearing on June 16, MPs were dissatisfied with the responses from Jérôme Salomon, the current director general of health, number two in the ministry.
They will therefore surely be keen to question his “patron” at the time on the follow-up given to a letter from the public health agency France, which recommended in 2018 to replenish the stock of masks to the tune of one billion units.
This letter was sent to the DGS at the end of September 2018. In October, Jérôme Salomon gave the order to order only 100 million masks.
The order was not then actually placed until July 2019: only 32 million masks arrived during 2019, the rest not being received until February of this year, when the epidemic of Covid- 19 had just reached France.
“There have been deliberate choices that have been made by the Director General of Health and by a number of officials in place on the reduction of these masks,” accused the leader of the LR deputies, Damien, last week. Abad.
The deputies will then hear all the predecessors of Agnès Buzyn since 2003: Marisol Touraine and Roselyne Bachelot Wednesday, Xavier Bertrand Thursday.
The precedent of the H1N1 pandemic in 2009 will be on everyone’s mind since it could have influenced certain choices that have led to the current situation.
At the time, Roselyne Bachelot had been widely criticized for having ordered too many vaccines (94 million doses, of which only 6 million had been used) in the face of a pandemic that was ultimately less serious than feared.
“We have been criticized for being too spendthrift” and that “in my opinion played a major role in weakening preparedness for the pandemic risk”, assured Didier Houssin during his hearing.
Ironically, the Covid-19 epidemic marked the return to grace of Ms. Bachelot, in whom public opinion now wants to see the embodiment of a precautionary principle forgotten by his successors.
The work of deputies will coexist with that of the Senate, dominated by the right-wing opposition, which must formalize Tuesday the creation of its own commission of inquiry, as well as with the “independent national mission” of evaluation, installed Thursday by Emmanuel Macron and chaired by the Swiss infectious disease specialist Didier Pittet.