The director-general of the World Health Organization, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the new name of coronavirus at Geneva on Tuesday, February 12.
The coronavirus disease causing a deadly outbreak in China has been named COVID-19.
The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses has named the virus itself SARS-CoV-2 after a similar but more deadly bug discovered in China in 2002.
“Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatizing,” Tedros told reporters. It also gives a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreak.
Tedros said the agency wanted to avoid stigmatizing a country or particular group,so it chose a name that did not refer to a geographical location, animals, an individual or a group of people.
Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, WHO’s chief scientist, said the acronym allows for flexibility for naming new coronaviruses that may emerge in the future.
“Coronavirus is a group of viruses that are quite common,” Swaminathan said. There are many known strains of coronavirus. It is possible that there will be another strain of coronavirus. Then that could also be named by the year it appeared.
“It’s important to have a name that everybody uses — both for scientific purposes to compare … and also to avoid a number of different stigmatizing or other forms of confusing names,” she added.
After a staff member suspected to be the doctor in a medical centre tested positive for the deadly coronavirus, the medical centre, (GP practice) in the Brighton United Kingdom has been temporarily closed down.
This recent infection takes the number of confirmed infection in the UK to 8 apart from the four Briton infected in France Patients at the city’s County Oak medical centre have been advised to contact the NHS 111 phone service if they have concerns.
The Department of Health has called the virus a “serious and imminent threat” to public health, but the overall risk level to the UK is said to still remain at “moderate”.
Four new cases of the virus were announced on Monday and are all linked to a British man who caught the virus at a conference in Singapore and travelled to a ski resort in France. He was diagnosed in Brighton and is being treated at St Thomas’ Hospital in London.
The Department of Health also introduced new measures in England that mean those in quarantine will not be free to leave and can be forcibly sent into isolation if they pose a threat.
It has been reported that the Lagos state government has deployed additional 30 personnel to assist with surveillance at entry ports against Coronavirus just as the government of Nigeria says it is well prepared and ready to curtail the novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infectious disease if eventually, there’s a breaks out in the country.
Prof. Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of Health, who was in Lagos to inspect facilities at the Emergency Response Readiness designated for the Coronavirus victims at the Mainland Hospital, Yaba in Lagos said with the extra hand, Lagos and Nigeria as a whole have demonstrated readiness if eventually any case of the infection is imported into the country.
“I can say that Lagos State is well prepared; there is a high level of readiness here, and also the awareness is there,” he said.
Ehanire expressed his satisfaction at the infrastructure put in place, he said that the state, considering its vulnerability to infectious disease, had learnt lessons from the Ebola episode of 2014, and reflected the experience in its level of preparedness.
“It is quite clear that Lagos has a clear-cut edge in managing infectious diseases and preparedness. I am extremely happy that Lagos is equipped in the area of knowledge built from the foundation it obtained from the 2014 Ebola outbreak which the state-managed properly,” Ehanire said.
The minister, who also inspected the state Bio-bank located inside the Mainland Hospital, lauded the state government for deploying additional 30 health personnel to assist with surveillance at the ports entry.
“I am impressed that the state has taken science to a very modern and admirable level. This is obviously a place where a lot of lessons will be learnt,” he said.
The minister highlighted that the Federal Government would continue to collaborate with the state on knowledge sharing and support team.
After the Lunar New Year break turned into an extended quarantine due to the Wuhan coronavirus, millions of people are heading back to work across China today.
Although many will be working from their homes, strict quarantine guidelines have been put in place in many cities and most businesses urging people to work remotely if possible to reduce the chances of transmission.
To some extent, normality may have returned to China, but the outbreak shows no signs of slowing down, the number of confirmed cases now at over 40,000 worldwide and the death toll at 910.
Chinese health authorities announced on Sunday that a total of 3,281 patients infected with the coronavirus has since been discharged from hospital.
A team of doctors and researchers from the World Health Organization led by Bruce Aylward, left for China on Sunday to assist with the outbreak, who the organization’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described as a “veteran of past public health emergencies.” Aylward led the WHO’s response to Ebola, as well as initiatives for immunization, communicable diseases control and polio eradication.
Hubei still remains the epicenter of the outbreak, the province of which Wuhan is the capital and accounts for almost 30,000 of the total confirmed cases.
Li Wenliang, a medical doctor and the whistleblower of the coronavirus, died on Thursday Night. The deceased was one of the first eight people to warn about the coronavirus and his death led to a collective anger and fear of unseen on the Chinese social media.
Dr. Li , a 34-year old ophthalmologist, was a national hero, who was apprehended by Wuhan police for spreading ‘rumors’ earlier last month. He had warned his classmates in a private WeChat message about a SARS-like virus spreading in Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic.
The deceased came in contact with the virus after treating a glaucoma patient who at the time was not aware that he has been already infected with the virus, after treating a glaucoma patient. The news of his death went viral and attracted millions of posts and searches.
In response to the doctor’s death, China’s anti-corruption agency, the National Supervisory Commission, announced on Friday that it is sending a team to Hubei to conduct a “comprehensive investigation.”
Li’s death has brought more fear to China, a nation already reeling from the outbreak that has killed 636 people and infected 31,161 others. On Wednesday, The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed the coronavirus a global issues.
Michel Yao, The World Health Organization’s Africa emergency response program manager advised health ministers in the region to activate standard flu screening at airports for passengers coming from mainland China.
Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda among other countries, is said to have started implementing surveillance and screening at airports, especially for travellers arriving from Wuhan in China where the outbreak began in December.
On Wednesday Ivory Coast’s health ministry, said the suspected case of coronavirus in the country had tested negative.
It involved a student who had travelled from Beijing to Abidjan over the weekend had shown flu-like symptoms, ‘coughing, sneezing and experienced difficulty breathing’.
In a statement, the Ivorian health ministry said that tests by research institutes in Ivory Coast and France had come back negative for the virus.
If the results had been positive, this would have been the first confirmed case in Africa.
According to the ministry, the 34-year-old student who was quarantined while tests were carried out is being treated for her symptoms and is recovering well.
Ghana’s Ministry of Health has designated two hospitals known as; the Ridge Hospital and the Tema General Hospital as centers to manage possible cases of coronavirus in the country, both facilities are in the Greater Accra region .
The Ministry, in a statement released said that this is part of the country’s plan to prevent and control any case that may be detected in the country and ultimately protect the Ghanaian population.
It explained that it has tightened the country’s emergency preparedness and response plan due to the rising number of infections from the novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in other countries of the world.
Earlier, The Ministry had issued a statement that said all passengers from China must mandatorily fill health declaration forms. The Health Ministry has stepped up by the process by applying it to all international arrivals at Terminal 3 of Kotoka International Airport (KIA).
“Screening for fever using the walk-through thermometers and non-contact thermometers are ongoing at KIA and other points of entry. Efforts are underway to ensure that all points of entry have non-contact thermometers,” the Ministry added.
The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIR) has since been designated as a laboratory for investigating the virus it is said that it is well-resourced to diagnose coronavirus infection.
The Ministry also said it is strictly collaborating with the World Health Organization, Veterinary Services Department, Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention among others to execute the country’s emergency response plan.