On Monday, January 25, hundreds protested in Milan, Italy, against the Lombardy administration’s mishandling of the COVID-19 crisis and demanded the resignation of Lombardy governor Attilio Fontana from the right-wing League party. The protesters condemned the administration’s faulty estimates on COVID-19 infections in the region which had led the Italian government to implement harsher lockdown restrictions, resulting in huge revenue losses. Activists from the Communist Refoundation party (PRC), Milano in Comune, Sinistra Italiana, CGIL, Italian Antifascist Network, and others participated in the protest.
Lombardy was put under the ‘Red Zone’ category by the Italian government last week after faulty data showing a higher rate of infections was sent by the regional authorities. Strict lockdown measures were imposed in the region, which is considered to be the industrial heartland of Italy. However, by Saturday, the Italian government announced that there were errors in the data submitted by the Lombardy administration and subsequently relaxed the restrictions, allowing shops to reopen.
Confcommercio Milano, the retail association in Milan, has claimed that shops in Milan lost around 100 million euros in revenue due to the lockdown. The massive loss inflicted upon the traders of Milan due to the faulty estimates has led to anger among the trading community across the region.
A statement by the protesting organizations said, “The Lombardy region has failed on influenza vaccines, on tracing, on the management of anti-COVID vaccines. Now they also made the calculations wrong and provided wrong data to the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), including those who had recovered as among the positives. Once they realized the mistake, they asked for rectification, as we talked about punishment, by blaming the red zone on the government. Attilio Fontana can do one thing now: resign and go home!”
Fontana has refuted the allegations of faulty estimates by the regional authority and stated that he will sue the Italian government to compensate the losses suffered by shopkeepers in the region.