England removes health agency criticized for response to COVID-19

England will eliminate the responsible public body to respond to health emergencies after the country suffered the highest mortality rate in Europe because of the pandemic of coronavirus .

England Public Health, a cornerstone of the state health system with responsibility for managing infectious outbreaks, will merge its functions with the government’s contact tracing service into a new body to be known as the National Institute for Health Protection.

“The National Institute for Health Protection will have a unique and implacable mission, to protect people from external threats to the health of this country: external threats such as biological weapons, pandemics and, of course, infectious diseases”, said Matt Hancock, UK Health Minister.

Dido Harding, former CEO of Internet provider TalkTalk and current head of the contact tracing service, will lead the new institute.

England has suffered an excess of 55,634 deaths from coronavirus , according to Reuters calculations, with a wave that lasted longer and spread to more places than other seriously affected countries like Italy and Spain .

It has been blamed Public Health of England for failing intensified testing coronavirus in the early stages of the crisis, for abandoning a program tracking widespread contacts with increasing the number of cases and for having initially decided not to share almost no details on the location of infections with local health authorities.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed lockdown later than many other countries, which, according to government advisers , led to thousands of preventable deaths.

Some health professionals have accused ministers to shift the blame for their own mistakes to Public Health in England before a public inquiry to examine the response to the crisis.

The National Institute for Health Protection will be in operation from the spring of next year.

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