"Under agreed guidelines between WHO, the World Organization for Animal Health, and the Food and Agriculture Organization, 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 disease now has the official name Covid-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019, World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a media briefing in Geneva on Tuesday.
Cleaners wash the street with a high-pressure water gun on February 3, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei province, China.
"Viruses can have more powerful consequences than any terrorist action", he told reporters.
Tedros made the comments at the launch of a two-day scientific conference in Geneva on Tuesday to speed up the development of medications and vaccines for the new coronavirus.
Tens of thousands of cases of the illness, known as COVID-19, have been reported globally, the vast majority of them in China.
"The first vaccine could be ready in 18 months, so we have to do everything today using the available weapons to fight this virus while preparing for the long-term". Beyond China, the disease has struck 24 countries, causing 393 cases and 1 death, in the Philippines.
Most other restaurants have been forced to do the same, as demand has plummeted following the outbreak in the central city of Wuhan in December, with local authorities across the country curbing travel and closing off public areas to prevent the coronavirus spreading.
Meanwhile, WHO sent an advance team to China this week for an global mission to examine the epidemic. They are the most senior officials to be demoted so far. The number of deaths have surpassed the death toll of SARS epidemic in 2002-2003.
A total of 925 patients infected with the novel coronavirus had been admitted to a 1,000-bed hospital built in 10 days in Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus outbreak, as of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.