Coronavirus: Disease has been officially named - here's what it is called

THE new coronavirus has been officially named by the World Health Organisation.

Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 12:10 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 12:11 pm

It has been called Covid-19 and this stands for Coronavirus disease 2019.

Unlike previous outbreaks of diseases such as Swine flu, Spanish flu or Ebola, it has not been named after a geographical location or an animal.

This is to avoid ‘stigmatisation’ the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

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A woman wears a mask in Newcastle upon Tyne, near where two patients who have tested positive for coronavirus. Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

The official name of the coronavirus outbreak was announced in a press conference held in Geneva.

WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a name was decided 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’.

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He said: ‘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.’

The coronavirus which caused the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak is known as Sars-CoV, while the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus was called Mers-CoV.

WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan added: ‘It's important to have a name for this disease that everybody uses.

‘Both for scientific purposes, and also to avoid a number of different stigmatising or other forms of confusing names.’