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Home of French health minister, other officials, raided in COVID-19 probe-BFM TV

PARIS, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Police raided the homes and offices of France’s former prime minister, the health minister and a number of prominent officials on Thursday as part of a probe into the authorities’ response to the coronavirus pandemic, BFM TV reported.

Health Minister Olivier Veran, his predecessor Agnes Buzyn, former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, former government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye and the current public health director Jerome Salomon were also targeted by the raids, BFM added.

Veran’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Reuters was not immediately able to contact for comment the other officials caught up in the raids.

There was no immediate confirmation of the raids by the Paris police or the Interior Ministry.

In July a judicial investigation was launched into the official handling of the pandemic following dozens of complaints by doctors, local authorities and nursing homes.

News of the raids broke just hours after French President Emmanuel Macron ordered a nightly curfew affecting a third of the French population in a bid to curb the surging second wave of the deadly virus.

Daily new infections are increasing at a record rate, putting a renewed strain on the hospital system. The virus has killed more than 33,000 people to date in France, the ninth-highest tally in the world. (Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau; Writing by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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