The new strain of coronavirus has been officially named ‘Covid-19’ by World Health Organisation (WHO).
Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the director general of the global body, made the announcement at a conference in Geneva today, six weeks after the virus first broke out in Wuhan, China.
The disease is believed to have killed more than 1,000 people and infected around 43,000 others around the world. It had previously been referred to as ‘2019-nCoV’ by health authorities examining its cause.
The name Covid-19 is made up of the first letters of the words ‘coronavirus’, ‘virus’ and ‘disease’, Dr Ghebreyesus said.
He continued: ‘Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatising. ‘It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks.’
It is believed scientists decided on the name at the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) last week.
Today it was announced that the death toll for covid-19 had reached 1,016 after another 108 deaths were reported over the previous 24 hours. This means more people have now died from the virus than those who died from SARS, which broke out in 2002-03.