WHO names new coronavirus as COVID-19

FILE: Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a news conference after a meeting of the WHO’s emergency committee on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Geneva, Switzerland, January 30, 2020. /Reuters Photo

The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially named the deadly coronavirus as COVID-19.

The announcement was made in Geneva on Tuesday by WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who underlined the importance of having an official name for viruses.

“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,” Dr. Adhanom said.

The WHO chief noted that as of Tuesday, deaths caused by COVID-19 had surpassed 1000.

“As of 6am Geneva time this morning, there were 42,708 confirmed COVID19 cases reported in China and tragically we have now surpassed 1000 deaths – 1017 people in 🇨🇳 have lost their lives to this virus. Outside China, there are 393 cases in 24 countries, with 1 death,” he said.

The WHO announcement came the organization hosts a meeting of more than 400 scientists from around the world to explore ways of tackling the virus.

As China continues to lead the fight against the virus, President Xi Jinping expressed optimism that his country will emerge victorious.

In a telephone conversation with his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo on Tuesday, President Xi stressed that China has the ability and confidence to not only thoroughly defeat the epidemic, but also complete the tasks set for economic and social development.