Geneva: The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday said "Covid-19" would be the new official name for the deadly coronavirus that was first identified in China on December 31.
"We now have a name for the disease and it's Covid-19," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva, explaining that "co" stood for "corona", "vi" for "virus" and "d" for "disease".
Tedros said the name had been chosen to avoid references to a specific geographical location, animal species or group of people in line with international recommendations for naming in order to avoid stigmatisation.
The WHO had earlier given the virus the temporary name of "2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease" and China's National Health Commission this week said it was temporarily calling it "novel coronavirus pneumonia" or NCP.
Speaking on the first day of an international scientific conference in Geneva that will look at possible vaccine options to combat the virus, Tedros also said he saw a "realistic chance" of stopping the outbreak.
"We are not defenceless," he said.
"We have to use the current window of opportunity to hit hard and stand in unison to fight this virus in every corner. If we don't we could have far more cases and far higher costs on our hands," he said.
"If the world doesn't want to wake up and consider the virus as public enemy number one, I don't think we will will learn from our lessons," he said.
"...We are still in containment strategy and should not allow the virus to have a space to have local transmission."
Toll touches 1,000
The toll passed 1,000 on Tuesday after President Xi Jinping called for more "decisive" measures to tackle the outbreak in a rare visit to a frontline hospital.
Xi donned a face mask and had his temperature checked while visiting medical workers and patients affected by the deadly coronavirus that has killed at least 1,011 people.
The fatalities soared after hardest-hit Hubei province -- the epicentre of the outbreak -- reported another 103 deaths on Tuesday, the highest single-day toll since the virus emerged.
At a hospital treating infected patients in Beijing, Xi on Monday called the situation at the epicentre "still very grave" and "more decisive measures" to contain the spread of the virus, said state broadcaster CCTV.
Xi has largely kept out of the public eye since the virus outbreak spiralled across the country from Hubei province to infect more than 42,000 people. He appointed Premier Li Keqiang to lead a group tackling the outbreak and it was Li who visited ground zero in Wuhan last month.
On Monday, Xi put on a blue mask and white surgical gown to meet doctors at Beijing Ditan hospital, observe the treatment of patients and speak via video link to doctors in Wuhan, state media said. He then visited a residential community in central Beijing to "investigate and guide" efforts to contain the epidemic, said CCTV.
Video footage showed Xi having his temperature taken with an infrared thermometer then speaking with community workers and waving at smiling residents leaning out of apartment windows.
The outbreak has prompted unprecedented action by the Chinese government, including locking down entire cities in Hubei as well as cutting transport links nationwide, closing tourist attractions and telling hundreds of millions of people to stay indoors.
The sweeping measures have turned cities into ghost towns -- but there were some signs of normality returning as many went back to work this week.