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Coronavirus update: WHO changes name to COVID-19

  • Develops treatment master plan

  • Africa records first case


WORLD Health Organisation (WHO) has re-named the new coronavirus, Covid-19.

WHO announced the new name in its tweeter handle at @WHO saying “we now have a name for 2019nCov disease.

“The new name is COVID-19.

“The CO stands for corona, the VI for virus and the D for disease.”

WHO says it wanted a name that does not refer to a geographical location, animals, an individual or a group of people.

WHO is leading a 2-day global research and innovation forum to mobilise international action in response to coronavirus outbreak in Geneva.

China’s National Health Commission said there were 2,478 confirmed new cases in the mainland and 108 additional deaths, most of them in Hubei province.

As of Monday night, the government said a total of 42,638 cases have been confirmed and 1,016 people have died in the country.

The outbreak’s epicentre is in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province, affecting 28 countries and territories around the world.

Treatment master plan

Meanwhile, WHO is developing a master plan for coordinating clinical trials that could lead to potential therapies for patients infected with COVID-19

WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced this at a news conference in Geneva, at the conclusion of a two-day research and innovation forum on COVID-19.

The leading health experts from around the world met to assess the current level of knowledge about the new disease, identify gaps and work together so that critical research can begin immediately.

These include decisions surrounding easy to apply diagnostics, the best approaches for infection prevention, potential therapies that could be used to treat patients, existing vaccine candidates and how to accelerate them.

Ghebreyesus described the outcome of the meeting as the “infodemic” – the overwhelming quantity of information, being produced and disseminated worldwide.

“The WHO is extending investigations into the source of the virus (which is still undetermined),

“The agency will continue to support countries with the tools to diagnose cases and protect health workers, including personal protective equipment,’’ he said.

As of Wednesday (Geneva time) February 12, there were 44,730 cases of COVID-19 in China, with 1,114 deaths.

In the rest of the world, the figure was 441 cases and one death.

Although the number of newly confirmed cases has stabilised in China, Ghebreyesus cautioned that the outbreak “could still go in any direction”.

Now in Egypt

Egypt has recorded the first case of COVID-19 in Africa, the country’s Health Ministry said on Friday, saying the case has been confirmed.

The sufferer is not Egyptian, the ministry said in a statement, without specifying the nationality.

“The ministry has taken preventative measures and is monitoring the patient… who is stable,” said health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed.

According to AFP, Egyptian authorities had notified the World Health Organization and the patient been placed in quarantined isolation in hospital,

Deep trade links with China and often overstretched healthcare systems have raised concerns about the capacity of African countries to respond to an outbreak.

Earlier this month, Egypt suspended all flights on its national carrier to China. They will remain grounded until the end of the month.

Three hundred and one Egyptians were evacuated from Wuhan, epicentre of the virus in China, and have remained in quarantine for 14 days, AFP reports.

  • NAN, AFP

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