By J. Jala | 12:23 AM February 12, 2020
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday (February 11) said COVID-19 will be the new official name for the deadly coronavirus that was first identified in China on Dec 31.
“We now have a name for the disease and it’s COVID-19,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva, explaining that “co” stood for “corona”, “vi” for “virus” and “d” for “disease”.
The organisation said it had to find a name “that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people” and one that is also pronounceable and related to the disease, under agreed guidelines between the WHO and other intergovernmental organisations.
Tedros spoke about the importance of having a formal name for the virus.
“Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatising,” he said. “It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks.”
The virus started in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Since spread to more than 20 countries, more than 1,000 people have died and more than 43,000 people have been infected, the vast majority in China.
The Philippines reported three cases.
The first case was the “travelling companion” – reported to be the girlfriend – of the 44-year old Wuhan man who died from the virus on February 1. It is the first and only death from coronavirus outside China and Hong Kong.
The Chinese tourist from Wuhan who had been travelling with a man who died of the virus – is no longer showing symptoms and may be discharged soon. Two consecutive negative tests are required before a patient may be discharged.
The third, a 60-year-old woman also from Wuhan, was belatedly confirmed after she had left the country. The health department said she appeared to have recovered from the coronavirus. She went to Bohol on January 20 for a trip and stayed in Panglao. She was hospitalized in Tagbilaran City, Bohol but she was discharged on January 31 after samples sent to Australia tested negative. But a belated test of an earlier sample conducted found out she was positive of the virus.