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COVID-19: WHO renames coronavirus. Here’s why that is important

The WHO said the name had been chosen to avoid references to a specific geographical location, animal species or group of people.

TAS News Service
Feb 12, 2020


NEW YORK: The World Health Organisation (WHO) gave an official name – Covid-19 – to the disease caused by the coronavirus that has ravaged China and spread across the globe, as statistics suggested that infections could level off in the coming weeks. 

WHO on Tuesday said there was a “realistic chance” of stopping it. “We now have a name for the disease and it’s ‘COVID-19’,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists in the Swiss city of Geneva.

What does COVID-19 stands for?

Tedros said that “CO” stands for “corona”, “VI” for “virus” and “D” for “disease”, while “19” was for the year, as the outbreak was first identified on December 31.

The WHO chief said the name had been chosen to avoid references to a specific geographical location, animal species or group of people in line with international recommendations for naming aimed at preventing stigmatisation. 

More than 1,000 people died

According to a report in the South China Post, Beijing vowed to hold local cadres to account for failing to contain the outbreak. 

China’s National Health Commission said on Tuesday that the country had reported 108 new deaths from the virus – the first time that 100 or more fatalities were recorded in a single day.

The outbreak, which was generally believed to have originated from Wuhan in central China, has killed 1,018 people worldwide – including one death in Hong Kong and another in the Philippines.

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