The new coronavirus that has killed over 1,000 people in China and sickened more than 43,000 others globally has been named ‘COVID-19’, the World Health Organisation said on Tuesday. “We had to find a name that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, and which is also pronounceable and related to the disease,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was quoted by the official Chinese media as saying at a media conference in Geneva on Tuesday.
The CO stands for corona, the VI for virus and the D for disease, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, announced Tuesday at a news conference at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva. The death toll from the virus in China on Monday rose to 1,017 with confirmed cases totalling to 42,708, Chinese health officials said on Monday. The confirmed cases abroad have gone up to 390.
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“Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatising. It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks,” state-run People’s Daily quoted Dr Tedros as saying.
The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, in late December.