Swiss police question nursing home staff after COVID-19 deaths

ZURICH, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Three nursing home workers in Switzerland’s Italian-speaking region of Ticino have been questioned on charges including manslaughter following a deadly outbreak of COVID-19 between March and May, police said on Tuesday.

“Following the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus at (a home for the elderly) between March and May 2020, the Public Ministry launched a series of checks, opening criminal proceedings,” Ticino police said in a statement.

“Three people working at the facility were questioned as defendants. The offenses are manslaughter, in light of deaths of patients who tested positive for the virus at the home and violations of federal law on epidemics due to a possible failure to comply with directives,” police added.

The Ticino attorney general continues to examine documents seized in the case, authorities said, without providing details on how many residents of the home died.

Ticino, which borders northern Italy and provides many jobs for cross-border workers, has been among the areas in Switzerland hit hardest by the new coronavirus.

Though the region’s population makes up just 4% of Switzerland’s 8.6 million residents, the 312 people in Ticino confirmed to have died from COVID-19 represent more than 17% of the 1,808 total deaths across the country, so far.

Switzerland recorded 1,445 new cases on Tuesday, raising the total confirmed infections to 65,881. (Reporting by John Miller, editing by John Revill)