In choosing the name Omicron for the new variant of the Covid identified for the first time in South Africa would have weighed the fear of offending the China. According to international media, in fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to skip the lheeter of the Greek alphabet Xi, identical to the transliterated surname of the Chinese president Xi Jinping, to move on to the next one, Omicron in fact.
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Since the start of the pandemic, each variant has been indicated by a letter of the Greek alphabet. For that discovery in South Africa the letter to be used was originally Nu. But, according to the Telegraph journalist Paul Nuki, who cites anonymous WHO sources, the UN organization has decided to skip this letter because its pronunciation could be confused with the English word ‘new’.
The next letter is precisely the Xi, but “it was skipped to avoid stigmatizing a region,” says Nuki. The region in question is not mentioned, but it is easy to identify it with China, given that the letter coincides with the surname of its president. The first to react controversially to this decision was the American Republican Senator Ted Cruz: “If the WHO is so afraid of the Chinese Communist Party – he tweeted – how can we think they will denounce (the Chinese) the next time they try to cover a catastrophic global pandemic? ‘
Last updated: Saturday 27 November 2021, 18:23
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