WHO: Novel coronavirus to be called COVID-19

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(CNN Philippines, February 12) — The World Health Organization (WHO) officially renamed the 2019 novel coronavirus as “Corona Virus Disease” or COVID-19.

WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said that the decision to rename the disease is to avoid the stigma on the place of origin of the virus.

“Under the agreed guidelines between WHO, the World Organization for Animal Health and 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,” he said in a press briefing in Geneva, Switzerland.

COVID-19 originated from Wuhan in the Hubei province in China. Since then, the name of the city has always been connected with the virus.

"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,” said Tedros.

Further, the WHO also said that there is a "realistic chance" of stopping the outbreak.

"If we invest now in rational and evidence-based interventions, we have a realistic chance of stopping the COVID19 outbreak,” said Tedros.

The WHO reported that there were 42,078 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in China and now surpassed 1,000 deaths in which 1,017 have already died due to the virus. Meanwhile, there are 393 confirmed cases in 24 countries, with one death recorded.