2020/02/12

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Coronavirus officially named Covid-19, says WHO

  

The World Health Organization says the official name for the disease caused by the new coronavirus will be Covid-2019.


"We now have a name for the disease and it's Covid-19," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva.


It comes after the death toll from the virus passed 1,000. Tens of thousands of people have been infected.


The word coronavirus refers to the group of viruses it belongs to, rather than the latest strain.


Researchers have been calling for an official name to avoid confusion and stigmatisation.


"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," the WHO chief said.


"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."


There are now more than 42,200 confirmed cases across China. The number of deaths has overtaken that of the Sars epidemic in 2003.


On Monday, some 103 died in Hubei province alone, a daily record, and the national death toll is now 1,016.


But the number of new infections nationally was down almost 20% from the day before, from 3,062 to 2,478.


China has "removed" several senior officials over their handling of the outbreak.


The party secretary for the Hubei Health Commission, and the head of the commission, were among those who lost their jobs. They are the most senior officials to be demoted so far.


Scientists from around the world are meeting in Geneva to discuss ways to combat the outbreak.


Dr Ghebreyesus said there was still a realistic chance of containing the disease if enough resources were devoted to the fight.


He praised the measures being taken in China, which he said were "slowing the spread to the rest of the world".


The US Federal Reserve says the disruption to the Chinese economy could spill over and affect the rest of the world.


Source: BBC





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