Chaired by LREM MP Brigitte Bourguignon, the parliamentary committee of inquiry into the Covid-19 was installed on Wednesday. Its general rapporteur Eric Ciotti answers our questions.
Why transform the parliamentary information mission on the Covid-19 into a committee of inquiry?
The fact-finding mission was set up at the start of the crisis to monitor the implementation of the state of health emergency at a time when the Parliament was practically no longer active. It was a form of makeshift that demonstrated its limits as it often turned into an executive press conference. The commission of inquiry will open the time for truth and no longer for communication. This is a wish expressed by LR on the initiative of the group president Damien Abad and Christian Jacob.
What will be the main areas of investigation?
I personally want to understand how the hospital care of sick residents of nursing homes has been managed. It will be necessary to address the issue of mask stocks which were sorely lacking at the start of the crisis. How did we go from 1.7 billion masks when Nicolas Sarkozy left the presidency of the Republic in 2012 barely 100 million in January 2020?
There are a multitude of other questions on the delay in the implementation of virological tests, border controls, on the lack of respirators in the hospital, on the organization of major sporting and cultural events which may have favored spread of the virus. We will have to analyze the link between the preparation of our structures and the requirement of containment: if we had been better prepared, would containment have always been necessary?
You also want to mention the “freedom of medical prescription” which, according to you, has been “questioned”…
City doctors have seen their freedom to prescribe, which is one of the fundamental principles of medicine, undermined by regulations, especially on hydroxychloroquine. I do not have the slightest scientific competence to issue a personal opinion on the usefulness or not of this treatment, but I would like our committee to examine the reasons which led the executive to set up a procedure that is completely exorbitant from the law common. She will have to listen to the specialists who were at the heart of these debates, in particular Professor Raoult.
Besides Didier Raoult, who do you want to audition?
All those who participated in the management of this crisis as executive or senior administration will be called upon to shed light. Personally, I want the list to be as wide as possible and include previous periods. All ministers of health since 2005 are called to speak.
Will the Prime Minister be called to testify?
It was he who, under the complex authority of the President of the Republic, managed this crisis. It will of course be intended to be heard.
And Agnes Buzyn?
Agnès Buzyn will therefore be at the heart of the main questions, especially since she has made declarations to Le Monde, which she seems to regret today, which are extremely shocking and which seem to say that she had transmitted to the President of the Republic and to the Prime Minister concerning worrying information which has not been taken into account. All of this will have to be checked.
Can your parliamentary inquiry lead to legal action?
A commission of inquiry is not a court. We do not have to encroach on areas in which justice is seized.
Do you plan to ask former presidents of the Republic to come and testify?
Why not ? Nothing constitutionally prevents it. François Hollande could thus explain why the establishment for preparing and responding to health emergencies was dissolved in 2016 when it was a very reactive tool in the management of stocks of protective equipment.