Britain will launch a new health security agency next week to better prepare for and tackle pandemics by bringing together its testing, analytical and scientific capabilities.
The new agency, called the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), will be headed up by Jenny Harries, England's deputy chief medical officer, who has been at the forefront of the government's efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Britain has one of the highest death tolls from the novel coronavirus but is gradually easing the latest lockdown under a four-step plan underpinned by the success of its vaccination programme.
"On the first of April, so next week, we will formally establish the new UK Health Security Agency. UKHSA, as it will be known, will be this country's permanent standing capacity to plan, prevent and respond to external threats to health," health minister Matt Hancock said in a speech to the Local Government Association.