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WHO Names Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia as COVID-19

2020/02/12

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced in Geneva on 11 February that the novel coronavirus pneumonia has a new name: COVID-19.

At a media briefing at the WHO headquarters, he said that "We now have a name for the disease: COVID-19", short for the coronavirus disease that started in 2019.

He explained that "under agreed guidelines between WHO, the World Organisation for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 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 stressed that "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".

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