A World Health Organisation (WHO) source has confirmed that the organisation skipped the Greek alphabet letter “Xi” when naming the recent COVID-19 variant to “avoid stigmatising the region [China]”. In other words, to appease Communist Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The WHO also skipped the letter “Nu” to prevent confusion with the word “new”.
“They [the WHO] didn’t want to say ‘Nu’ because it made people think it’s a ‘new’ virus or there’s a risk of confusion,” the source said.
“And yes, when they do these things, they don’t want to end up stigmatising regions. And so they thought this would or could do that, so they skipped Xi too… to avoid stigmatising the region”.
However, on Saturday, the WHO media office changed the explanation for their decision:
“[For] Xi because it’s a common surname and we have agreed [to] naming rules that avoid using place names, people’s names, animal, etc. to avoid stigma.”
Since May, the organisation has used the Greek alphabet to name each new COVID-19 variant, like “Alpha” and “Delta”. Nu and Xi are the 13th and 14th letters of the Greek alphabet, respectively. The name for the current variant, “Omicron”, is the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet.
According to the WHO, the system is meant to prevent variants from being associated with the places they were first detected.
However, internet users, including prominent political and academic figures, are criticising the WHO for its conformity to CCP demands:
“In a late move, Greece asks for a wider review of the overall naming regime, given the policy of avoiding stigmatising regions,” wrote one Twitter user.
“If the WHO is this scared of the Chinese Communist Party, how can they be trusted to call them out the next time they’re trying to cover up a catastrophic global pandemic?” tweeted United States senator Ted Cruz.
“He who must not be named. It appears the WHO has skipped the next Greek letter after Nu to name the new variant. The next letter is Xi. The concern is that WHO is again avoiding any discomfort for the Chinese government. So they named it Omicron…” wrote George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley.
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