WHO names Wuhan virus COVID-19

The novel coronavirus originating from Wuhan now has a name. The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced on Tuesday, February 11, that its official name will be "COVID-19".

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said "CO" stands for "corona", "VI" for "virus" and "D" for "disease". Meanwhile, "19" stands for the year, as the outbreak was first identified on December 31, 2019.

Photo courtesy: unsplash
Photo courtesy: unsplash

Tedros told reporters in Geneva that in choosing the name, the agency had wanted to avoid references to a specific geographical location, animal species or group of people. This would prevent stigmatisation arising from using place names such as Ebola and Zika, where the two diseases were first identified, and which are now inevitably linked to them in the public mind. 

The head of the UN health agency also added that COVID-19 represented a "very grave threat" for the world but there was a "realistic chance" of stopping it.

Earlier, WHO temporarily named the virus "2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease". The China's National Health Commission temporarily called it the "novel coronavirus pneumonia" or NCP.​