President Barack Obama has asked former White House adviser Ron Klain to coordinate U.S. efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak, an administration official said on Friday, after criticism the government’s response to the virus has been slow and inadequate.
Klain, a lawyer and businessman, was a senior White House aide to Obama and chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden. Earlier, he served as chief of staff for Vice President Al Gore, and also for former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.
He will report to homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco and national security adviser Susan Rice, the official said.
The decision to appoint a so-called Ebola czar follows the infection of a second Dallas nurse who had treated the first Ebola patient to be diagnosed on U.S. soil, Thomas Eric Duncan.
The Obama administration has faced sharp criticism from some lawmakers over efforts to contain the disease at home.
U.S. lawmakers held a congressional hearing on Thursday about the administration’s handling of the outbreak and some called for a ban on travel from West Africa, where the disease has killed nearly 4,500 people.
Rising public anxiety over the disease prompted Obama to cancel two days of political events weeks before Nov. 4 congressional elections.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)