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Our coverage on COVID‑19

New coronavirus name will replace “inaccurate, stigmatising” names

The Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has confirmed that the 2019 novel coronavirus has been given an official, new name: COVID-19. The new name offers authorities a standard format to use for future coronavirus outbreaks, and has been determined based on agreed guidelines between WHO, OIEAnimalHealth & FAO.

These include requirements that the new name not refer to a geographical location, an animal, or an individual or group of people—another requirement was that the new name be “pronounceable” and related to the disease. With ground zero for the COVID-19 coronavirus being in Wuhan, China, there have been cases of xenophobia and stigmatising, and as such, it appears that the WHO’s new name is an attempt to stay away from names such as “Wuhan virus”.

As it stands, the current statistics as of 7:30am today, 12th of February 2020 show that there have been 44,787 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across 25 countries, with a death toll of 1,112 cases. There have also been 18 cases in Malaysia thus far, although the number of deaths in Malaysia remains at 0.

The Ministry of Health advises everyone to attentively wash your hands, avoid taking raw/rare foods, close your mouth and nose when you are coughing, and avoid direct contact with wild animals and individuals who display symptoms of the flu.


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