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COVID-19: Naming of coronavirus by WHO

COVID-19: Naming of coronavirus by WHO

On 11th February 2020, the UN health agency announced that "COVID-19" would be the official name of the deadly virus- CoronaVirus.

Key Points:

  • It is said that the disease represented a "very grave threat" for the world, but there was a "realistic chance" of stopping it.
  • The reason behind the naming was that "co" stands for "corona", "vi" for "virus" and "d" for "disease", while "19" was for the year, as the outbreak was first identified on 31 December 2019.
  • This name was chosen to avoid references to a specific geographical location, animal species or any group of people in line with the international recommendations for naming aimed to prevent stigmatisation.
  • Under a set of guidelines that were issued in 2015, WHO advises against using place names like Ebola and Zika - where those diseases were first identified and which are now inevitably linked to them in the public mind.

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