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Replacement for Public Health England Expected

The UK health secretary plans to scrap and replace Public Health England, the Telegraph reports.

According to Sky News, the move comes as ministers in the UK have been displeased with the agency's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly how it has counted coronavirus cases. BBC News adds that Health Secretary Matt Hancock is to announce this week that the pandemic response work done by PHE, which was created in 2013, is to be combined with the National Health Service's Test and Trace program to form a new entity, which may be dubbed the National Institute for Health Protection. Sky News notes that the new agency is to be modeled on Germany's Robert Koch Institute, an independent institute that has guided the German COVID-19 response. 

In its analysis, BBC News notes that "there is a logic to moving PHE's coronavirus functions, including testing and surveillance, into a new health protection agency, which also takes in the test and trace network and management. But shaking up the defences with the virus threat still present is risky."