New UK biosecurity centre to be run by Tom Hurd
Tom Hurd, a senior Home Office counter terrorism official who was at Eton and Oxford with the Prime Minister, will take charge of the newly established joint biosecurity centre, responsible for coronavirus threat levels.
The 55-year-old, who has previously worked as a diplomat at the UN, as a Middle East specialist and latterly in security, is taking on the role on an acting basis to get the new centre up and running, which officials say will happen ‘within days’, though reports maintain that he remains a candidate to take over as the next director general of MI6 later this year.
The biosecurity centre, based within the Cabinet Office, will be responsible for monitoring the number of coronavirus cases and the disease’s transmission rate, and will be closely modelled on the UK’s counter terrorism national security system.
Announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as part of his plans to ease the lockdown in the UK, the centre will administer a five-tier coronavirus alert system, to advise Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, and those of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland if they sign up. The UK was currently at level 4 out of 5, but was heading downwards to level 3.