SEOUL, June 5 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in instructed the authorities Friday to reconsider an announced scheme to transfer the 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 South 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 Jeong Eun-kyeong and some civilian experts voiced a negative view about the move, saying the KCDC requires its own research arm and function even if its administrative status is upgraded.
Responding to the opinion, Moon ordered an "across-the-board" review of the plan, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok.
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