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The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially named the disease caused by the new coronavirus, initially identified in Wuhan, China, as Covid-19.

Chinese authorities first reported a case of pneumonia with an unknown cause in Wuhan to the WHO China office on 31 December.

As more cases emerged, the cause was identified as a novel coronavirus, temporarily named 2019-nCoV or Wuhan coronavirus, in some cases.

The name Covid-19 will avoid the use of other inaccurate names and any references to a geographic location, an animal, an individual or group of people, said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

A statement from WHO reads: “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.”

The virus has now spread to 25 more countries, leading to a total of 1,115 deaths and more than 45,100 cases, as of the end of 11 February. WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January.

On 11 February, WHO began its two-day forum to identify knowledge gaps and research priorities to control the spread of Covid-19 epidemic.