The World Health Organization says the official name for the disease caused by the new coronavirus is Covid-19.
The WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva. “We now have a name for the disease and it’s Covid-19,”
Researchers have been calling for an official name to avoid confusion and stigmatization of any group or country.
“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 stigmatizing. It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks.”
The word coronavirus refers to the group of viruses it belongs to, rather than the latest strain. The virus itself has been designated SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.
The new name is taken from the words “corona”, “virus” and “disease”, with 2019 representing the year that it emerged (the outbreak was reported to the WHO on 31 December).
It comes after the death toll from the virus passed 1,000. Tens of thousands of people have been infected.