WHO Avoids Naming New Virus In Order To Not Stigmatize China And Wuhan

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WHO has yet to give a permanent name to the new virus in an attempt to not stigmatise the city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, and Chinese people.

Written By Shubham Bose | Mumbai | Updated On:
WHO

The World Health Organisation has yet to give a permanent name to the new virus in an attempt to not stigmatise the city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, and Chinese people. The official temporary name given to the new virus by the UN health agency is 2019-nCoV.

Minimizing the risk of stigma

2019 refers to the year when the virus was discovered and nCoV stands for 'novel coronavirus' which is a family of virus that the deadly new virus belongs to. According to Maria Van Kerkhove, who is the head of WHO's Emerging Diseases unit has said that it was important to give an appropriate name to the virus that does not associate the virus with a particular location.

She added that people had begun calling the virus with reference to Wuhan and China and this is not appropriate. General disease names such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or Spanish flu are also to be avoided because this stigmatises an entire region or ethnic group.

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The WHO also in past reports has stated that referring to the virus and associating it to animals is problematic. H1N1, which was popularly referred to as swine flu had a major impact on the pork industry was inaccurate as the virus was being spread by humans and not pigs.

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