‘COVID-19’ official name for 2019 novel coronavirus, says WHO

by BERNAMA / pic by AFP

COVID-19, which stands for ‘Corona Virus Disease’, is the official name for the 2019 novel coronavirus,  according to the World Health Organization (WHO). 

The announcement was made by WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who explained that “co” stood for “corona”, “vi” for “virus” and “d” for “disease”, in the daily media briefing about the virus, held in Geneva, Switzerland on Tuesday (local time).

“We now have a name for the #2019nCoV disease: COVID-19,” he said in a live video streamed through WHO’s official Twitter page.

“Under agreed guidelines between WHO, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 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.

“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,” he added.

As of  today, the new virus which was first detected in Wuhan, China in December last year, has infected 42,708 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with the death toll reaching 1,017 in the republic.

There were 393 cases reported in 24 countries, including 18 cases in Malaysia, while one death was reported in the Philippines.