People walk on the Millennium Bridge backdropped by the St. Paul's Cathedral in London, Britain, on Aug. 1, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)
The British government on Tuesday announced its decision to integrate some of its key public health agencies into one new organization in a bid to advance the country's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP) will bring together Public Health England (PHE) and NHS (National Health Service) Test and Trace, as well as the analytical capability of the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) under a single leadership team from Tuesday.
In order to minimize disruption to the vital work dealing with the pandemic, the organization will be formalized and operating from spring 2021, said the government.
Besides the COVID-19, the newly formed NIHP will also conduct surveillance of all infectious diseases, provide specialistic scientific advice on immunization and countermeasures and carry out emergency response and preparedness to deal with the most severe incidents at national and local level, etc.
"To give ourselves the best chance of beating this virus once and for all -- and of spotting and being ready to respond to other health threats, now and in the future -- we are creating a brand new organisation to provide a new approach to public health protection and resilience," said Health Secretary Matt Hancock in a statement.