• Tue. Jan 25th, 2022

South African variant Omicron, “so named so as not to offend China”

Byeditorial

Nov 27, 2021

The ‘South African variant’ of the covid was renamed Omicron in order not to offend China. Respecting the order of the Greek alphabet, a criterion chosen by the WHO in order not to stigmatize any country, the new variant should have been called “Nu”. But there was a risk of confusion with the English word “new”. The next letter was Xi at this point, but it was too reminiscent of Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Telegraph quoted a WHO source, according to which it was preferred to switch to Omicron “in order not to stigmatize an entire region”. The leap of two letters caused some irony on the Web. The American Senator Ted Cruz took the cue to accuse the WHO once again of subjection to the Chinese. “If WHO is afraid of the Chinese Communist Party, how can we trust them to ask them for an account the next time they try to hide a catastrophic global pandemic?” Asked the Republican senator on Twitter.

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