The World Health Organisation (WHO) has officially named the new coronavirus as Covid-2019.
“We now have a name for the disease and it’s Covid-19,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva.
It comes after the death toll from the virus passed 1,000. Tens of thousands of people have been infected.
The word coronavirus refers to the group of viruses it belongs to, rather than the latest strain.
Researchers have been calling for an official name to avoid confusion and stigmatisation.
“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,” the WHO chief said.
“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”
There are now more than hit 42,638 confirmed cases across China. The number of deaths has overtaken that of the Sars epidemic in 2003.
On Monday, some 103 died in Hubei province alone, a daily record, and the national death toll is now 1,016.
But the number of new infections nationally was down almost 20% from the day before, from 3,062 to 2,478.
The death toll from the novel coronavirus outbreak in China passed the 1,000 mark for the first time yesterday, according to figures released by the country’s health authorities.
WHO experts have arrived China, the Chinese National Health Commission has announced.
The commission, in its daily newsletter, stated that “an advance squad of the WHO-led team of international experts had already arrived in China to lay the groundwork for the rest of team members who will cooperate with their Chinese counterparts against the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The objective of the team’s visit is “to learn, primarily, from Chinese counterparts their experience in dealing with this event, so that the world can learn from them”.
It also noted that 3,996 patients had been cured and discharged from hospital.
There still remained 21,675 suspected cases while 187,728 are now under medical observation, who have been identified as having had close contact with infected patients.
The newsletter stated: “As of 24:00 on Feb 10, the National Health Commission had received 42,638 reports of confirmed cases and 1,016 deaths on the Chinese mainland, and in all 3,996 patients had been cured and discharged from hospital. There still remained 21,675 suspected cases.
“So far, 187,728 are now under medical observation, who have been identified as having had close contact with infected patients.
The number of confirmed infections in the China’s Hong Kong (42, incl. 1 death) and Macao (10, incl. 1 cured) special administrative regions and Taiwan province (18 incl. 1 cured) had risen to 70 in total, according to the commission.
“The numbers of new confirmed cases outside Hubei in the past seven days were 890 (3 Feb.), 731 (4 Feb.), 707 (5 Feb.), 696 (6 Feb.), 558 (7 Feb.), 509 (8 Feb.), 444 (9 Feb.) and 381 (10 Feb.) respectively, marking a week-long decline