June 3, 2020 / 2:24 AM / a month ago

Two centrally run committees to shape UK's COVID-19 approach in shake-up - Telegraph

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds the daily news conference on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak with the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty (not pictured) and the Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance (not pictured), at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain May 28, 2020. Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is aiming to take “direct control” of the government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak in a Downing Street shake-up, the Telegraph reported late on Tuesday.

The move will see two centrally run committees, covering strategy and operational delivery, shaping the British government’s approach to the outbreak, the newspaper added.

The committees will substitute four ministerial implementation groups, which were formed at the start of the coronavirus crisis and covered health, foreign affairs, economy and business and public services, the Telegraph reported.

Johnson will chair the strategy committee while Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove will chair the new operations committee, according to the report.

The changes will free up some members of Johnson’s top team to concentrate on Brexit talks ahead of July’s deadline, when Britain determines whether to stretch the transition period beyond this year, the report said.

The newspaper also reported that a regular COVID-19 government meeting, which has been held every morning, is being axed.

The shake-up could also weaken the influence of the prime minister’s top adviser, Dominic Cummings, whose long road trip at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown provoked outrage across Britain, The Telegraph reported.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Maler and Tom Brown

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