In revealing the name at a press conference, WHO Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus said that the organization picked a name that does not refer to China's central city Wuhan - the epicenter of the pneumonia-like illness - or the country based on worldwide agreements. In its daily update, the province's health commission also confirmed another 2,105 new cases on Tuesday, the lowest since January 30. Of those, 135 are quarantined aboard a cruise ship in Yokohama, near Tokyo.
While no central government-level officials have lost their jobs, state media reported Tuesday the top health officials in Hubei province, home to the epicenter of Wuhan, have been relieved of their duties. That includes a new case confirmed Monday in San Diego, the 13th person diagnosed in the U.S. Like most cases, that patient was recently in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The "CO" stands for "corona", "VI" stands for "virus", "D" for disease, and "19" for the year 2019, as the virus was first officially confirmed in December last year, according to Ghebreyesus.
"A virus can cause more powerful consequences in political, economic, and social upheaval than any terrorist attack, and the world should consider the virus as public enemy No. 1", the WHO head said.
Ghebreyesus, who previously served as the Ethiopian foreign minister, called on investing in prevention measures and helping countries with weaker health systems, He warned that "if this virus makes to (a country with) a weaker health system, it will wreak havoc". A quarantine officer was also found to be infected with the virus.
Experts and researchers have asked for an official name for the new coronavirus to avoid confusion and negative perceptions of certain groups or regions.
Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program, said that the team is a joint WHO-China mission to bring the best of science and public health minds from both China and the rest of the world.
"From China's early sharing of genome sequencing data to our work at WHO to debunk myths, we are rapidly collecting, analysing and sharing information to keep the world safe", he added.
Zhong Nanshan, a leading Chinese epidemiologist, said that while the virus outbreak in China may peak this month, the situation at the centre of the crisis remains more challenging.