Should the novel coronavirus be called 'Chinese virus? | Updated: 2020-04-28 15:20

The following is one of the 16 most common rumors about the COVID-19 epidemic related to China, compiled and published by the Chinese embassy in Germany. The original version was published in Chinese and German. China Daily did some minor editing and updated a few figures in translation.

A researcher does a nucleic acid test at the KingMed Diagnostics, a company commissioned to do coronavirus infection test in Wuhan, on March 2, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

Rumor: The novel coronavirus is a Chinese virus because it came from Wuhan.

Fact: The official name for the virus is SARS-CoV-2. Wuhan is where the COVID-19 case was first reported, but it is not necessary the place where the virus originates.

In December 2019, Wuhan reported the first COVID-19 case, which was then called pneumonia of unknown cause. But scientists so far do not know the exact origin of the virus. Historically speaking, a place where a virus was first reported is often not where it had originated. For example, cases of HIV infection were initially reported in the United States, but its origin was most likely in West Africa. The Marburg virus was first discovered in Marburg, Hesse, Germany, but it was most likely originated in Uganda.

In order to avoid stigmatization, the WHO issued recommendations on the naming of human infectious diseases and pathogens in 2015, discouraging the use of regions, countries, individuals and animals in the naming. The novel coronavirus was officially named SARS-CoV-2 on Feb 11.

Renowned scientific journal Nature published an editorial on April 7, saying it is irresponsible and stigmatizing to associate COVID-19 with specific locations.

In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated racism and discrimination, especially against the Chinese and Asian people. The number of assaults toward Asian people in Germany is rising as a result.

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