US plans to re-open pandemic response office amid COVID-19 outbreak
The pandemic response office at National Security Council which was disbanded by the Trump administration in 2018 will now be reopened at the State Department amid the coronavirus pandemic.
On Thursday (local time), the National Security Council held an interagency meeting to discuss plans for the office, which will fall under the leadership of a new position: coordinator for pandemics, CNN reported quoting a senior administration official.
Critics have questioned the move to re-open the office at the State Department rather than in National Security Council reflecting Trump administration toeing a different line from the Obama administration.
According to former officials, the US could have handled the coronavirus situation better had it not closed the previous pandemic response office.
Lisa Monaco, who served as President Barack Obama's homeland security adviser and oversaw the creation of the NSC's global health directorate, was quoted as saying that stationing the pandemic office within the National Security Council was necessary "because in an epidemic like Ebola, in a pandemic like Covid-19, what you need is a whole of government response and you need swift action. You need swift decisions from the President, and you need that policy coordinated across the entire government."
The US on Thursday recorded at least 55,220 new coronavirus cases, The Washington Post reported.