China virus death toll tops 1,100 as new infections fall

Representative Image

Representative Image

Tedros said having a name for the new disease is important to prevent the use of other names that might be stigmatizing.

"Under agreed guidelines between WHO, the World Organization for Animal Health, and the Food and Agriculture Organization, 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".

COVID-19 is a mashup of the words "corona", "virus", and "disease"-with 2019 representing the year it emerged".

He said viruses have "more powerful consequences than any terrorist action".

Authorities said on Wednesday another 97 people had died in China, raising the national toll to 1,113, while more than 44,600 people had been infected by the newly named COVID-19 virus.

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The coronavirus has a new name: COVID-19.

Zhong Nanshan, a leading Chinese epidemiologist, said that while the virus outbreak in China may peak this month, the situation at the centre of the crisis remains more challenging.

"We are not defenceless", Tedros insisted.

The agency has appealed for sharing of virus samples and speeding up research into drugs and vaccines. "So, we have to do everything today using the available weapons to fight this virus while preparing for the long term using the preparations for the vaccines", Tedros said.

Information about the coronavirus outbreak is spreading fast, but what do we actually know about the illness? World Health Organization also wanted a name that was "pronounceable and related to the disease", he said.

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More general names such as "Middle East Respiratory Syndrome" or "Spanish flu" are also now avoided as they can stigmatise entire regions or ethnic groups.

The total death toll in China climbed to 1,113.

Several countries have banned arrivals from China, while major airlines have halted flights to and from the country, as hundreds of people have now been infected in some two-dozen countries.

China's official media reported Tuesday that the top health officials in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, have been relieved of their duties. Meanwhile, 42,638 infections have been reported.

At least 25 countries have confirmed cases and several nations have evacuated their citizens from Hubei.

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