Over 60 take a look at optimistic after flying from South Africa to Amsterdam as fears rise over Omicron variant

The World Health Organization (WHO) has named the brand new coronavirus variant omicron, skipping two letters of the Greek alphabet, Nu and Xi, to keep away from giving what is probably essentially the most harmful variant but the identical title as President Xi Jinping, the chief of the Chinese Communist Party.

In May 2021, the World Health Organization introduced that new variants of SARS-CoV-2 — the coronavirus inflicting the worldwide pandemic — can be named after Greek letters, and never the nation or locale through which they had been first recognized.

Beforehand, the one official labels had been assigned by scientific databases and featured a letter adopted by a string of numbers, resembling B.1.1.7, P.1 and B.1.351.

As a consequence, these clunky names had been changed colloquially by the title of the place the place they had been first discovered, resembling Kent, Brazil and South Africa.

But well being officers had been involved about discrimination, prejudice and stigmatiation of individuals from these locations and sought a naming system that prevented this.

Names of birds had been advised, however the WHO settled on the Greek alphabet as an inoffensive and straightforward to digest nomenclature system.

All pre-existing variants had been retrospectively named so as of their emergence, whereas people who emerged later took up the subsequent accessible letter within the alphabet.

And thus, the Kent variant turned often known as alpha, South African turned eta, Brazilian turned gamma and the Indian variant was rebadged as delta.

But apart from these well-known varieties, there have been 9 others, stretching all the way in which right down to Mu.

However, on Friday, the World Health Organization broke from this orderly system and referred to as the thirteenth variant omicron, the fifteenth letter of the alphabet.

Nu, the thirteenth letter of the alphabet, was possible skipped to keep away from confusion in regards to the new Nu variant, however no rationalization has but been given by the WHO.

It can also be unclear if Nu and Xi might be used as variant names sooner or later.

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