UK adopts strong security approach to coronavirus crisis management
Iran Press TV
Tuesday, 12 May 2020 6:01 PM
In a dramatic sign that the UK is determined to add a strong security dimension to the management of its coronovirus crisis, a new joint bio-security center is to be established by a senior security official tipped to become the next chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6).
According to the Financial Times (May 11), the new center, purportedly an independent body monitoring the coronavirus threat level, is to be established by Tom Hurd, a senior counter-terrorism official in the Home Office.
As director-general at the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, Hurd is believed to be "in the running" to become the next chief of MI6.
Interestingly, Hurd is the son of former Tory foreign secretary Douglas Hurd, who led the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in the crucial years of 1989 to 1995.
Similar to his father, Tom Hurd is also a Middle East specialist. He has been in effective charge of Britain's counter-terror strategy since 2016.
Hurd junior also has some diplomatic experience, having worked inside Britain's mission to the United Nations Security Council.
Plans to set up the new bio-security hub were announced by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, during his public broadcast on May 10.
According to multiple reports, the new center will assess the threat posed by the coronavirus to assist the government plan its exit from lockdown.
In keeping with its heavy security profile, the bio-security hub will function along the same lines as the UK's Joint Terrorism Analysis Center (JTAC), which scores the terror risk to Britain as either low, moderate, substantial, severe or critical, and determines the national response accordingly.
JTAC is housed inside the Security Service (MI5), but there is no indication yet the new bio-center will be organizationally allied to Britain's internal security and intelligence service.
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