Moon orders review of National Institute of Health planPresident Moon Jae-in instructed authorities Friday to reconsider an announced plan to transfer control of a state-run research institute to the Health Ministry from the current top disease control body in the nation.
His call came amid controversy over the government's plan to revise the Government Organization Act unveiled by the Ministry of the Interior and Safety (MOIS) the previous day.
It revolves around the elevation of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) to an independent administrative organization with power to handle its own budget and personnel matters so it can better handle a public health crisis like the new coronavirus.
The KCDC has spearheaded Korea's state quarantine measures against Covid-19. The tentative English name for the new government agency is the Disease Control and Prevention Administration.
In the envisioned organizational chart change, the National Institute of Health, the KCDC's research center in charge of infectious disease treatment and vaccine research, will be expanded and transferred to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
KCDC Director Jung Eun-kyeong and some civilian experts expressed doubts about the move, saying the KCDC requires its own research arm even if its administrative status is upgraded.
Responding to the opinion, Moon ordered an "across-the-board" review of the plan, according to Blue House spokesman Kang Min-seok.