Why probe into ex-health minister's handling of Covid epidemic spells trouble for French government

The former French health minister Agnès Buzyn was placed under formal investigation on Friday September 10th for “putting the lives of others in danger” during the Covid-19 pandemic. Prosecutors also named her as an “assisted witness” - a half-way status between that of a witness and a potential suspect - in relation to allegations of “failing to fight a disaster”. The investigation into Buzyn, who stepped down as health minister in mid-February 2020 as the epidemic was gaining speed in the country, came after numerous legal complaints lodged by private individuals and groups. The news, which will once again shine a spotlight on the French government's initial handling of the epidemic, comes just months before President Emmanuel Macron is set to seek re-election in the 2022 presidential election. Sarah Brethes, Caroline Coq-Chodorge and Antton Rouget report.

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The news on Friday September 10th that former health minister Agnès Buzyn has been placed under formal investigation in relation to her handling of the start of the Covid-19 epidemic is potentially explosive for the French government. The health crisis is still continuing, while it is just months before President Emmanuel Macron is expected to seek re-election in the April 2022 presidential elections.