New Delhi: Some people are stigmatising China and using "Chinese virus" in reference to COVID-19 even though such language contravenes guidelines of World Health Organization (WHO) against the use of geographical terms in naming diseases, Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong said on Monday.
WHO guidelines state that scientists, national authorities and media should follow the best practice when naming infectious diseases to minimise unnecessary negative effects on nations, economies and people, he said on Twitter.
"Some people have kept stigmatising China and using 'Chinese virus' in reference to COVID-19. Such language contravenes WHO guidelines against the use of geographical terms in naming diseases. Chinese people are strongly opposed to it," he said.
The name COVID-19 has been chosen to avoid and prevent stigmatisation, Sun said at a time when number of virus-infected cases are rising in India significantly. The pandemic of influenza in 2009 originated in North America and yet, WHO didn't call it North American flu, he stated.
"It's important that everyone has the same approach when it comes to COVID-19," he stated, adding this is a time for solidarity. "President Xi Jinping has said that to prevail over a disease that threatens all, unity and cooperation is the most powerful weapon."
More than 400 people have contracted the virus seven people have died because of it, according to Union health ministry.
"Thanks to united and arduous efforts, China has made important progress in prevention and control, and also tried its best to help other countries fight COVID-19. We will continue to work with the world to address challenges and safeguard regional and global public health security," he asserted.
There have been instances where people have been harassed and have even faced racially-motivated attacks amid coronavirus pandemic.