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The US government has come up with a first of its kind strategy to prevent, detect and respond to threats from infectious diseases occurring naturally or accidentally, in an effort to help improve the world’s ability to stop and contain deadly outbreaks before they spread between countries.

The Global Health Security Strategy, unveiled on Thursday, defines the actions the administration will take by adopting a whole-of-government approach to health security and leveraging the strengths of different federal departments, agencies and funding streams, the White House said.

“Our National Security Strategy specifically identifies combatting biological threats and pandemics as a cornerstone of national security. Biological threats, like infectious disease outbreaks, are a national security priority for the United States government,” a senior administration official told reporters after the strategy was released by the White House.

The strategy outlines a coordinated US approach that focuses on three interrelated goals: strengthen partner country global health security capacities, increase international support for global health security and a homeland prepared and resilient against global health threats, the official said.

The White House said that the US is working with international partners to help improve the world’s ability to stop and contain infectious disease outbreaks before they spread between countries.

“Using this process, the United States will assist our international partners to help improve their performance in priority areas. We will encourage countries to strengthen their technical capacities and will support select partner countries in areas such as emergency preparedness and disease surveillance,” it said.

Under the new strategy, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) will increase its ability to monitor threats globally from headquarters and provide rapid response through deployment of staff across the agency.

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