South Korea will make its Centers for Disease Control and Prevention an independent body, separate from the health ministry, and raise its status to that of an administration.
The Ministry of the Interior and Safety said Wednesday that the necessary revision to the Government Organization Act is awaiting approval from National Assembly.
But, once approved, the KCDC will have independent power over matters relating to budget, appointing personnel, and organization.
The government anticipates that this move will strengthen the KCDC's expertise in contagious disease policy measures and prompt decision making.
The new KCDC will be able to carry out its own research and conduct business related to disease prevention while operating nationwide response centers.
These centers will offer support for local, community-level quarantine efforts such as epidemiological research.
The changes are in line with remarks which President Moon Jae-in made during his special address last month, marking his third year in office.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be upgraded to the Disease Control and Prevention Administration to strengthen its expertise and independence. With National Assembly's approval, we will establish a system for two vice ministers within the Ministry of Health and Welfare."
With two vice ministers at the Ministry of Health and Welfare, one will be responsible for the welfare sector and one for the health sector.
The revision comes as the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for a systematic and professional response to a public health crisis.
Hong Yoo, Arirang News.