British scientific journal "Nature" has apologized for associating the novel coronavirus with Wuhan and China, stating that "coronavirus stigma must stop - now".
"It would be tragic if stigma, fuelled by the coronavirus, led Asia’s young people to retreat from international campuses, curtailing their own education, reducing their own and others’ opportunities and leaving research worse off — just when the world is relying on it to find a way out", Nature said in an article.
The piece stressed on the common practice of associating "viral diseases with the landscapes, places or regions where the first outbreaks occurred", citing Zika virus and Middle East respiratory syndrom as examples.
"And yet, as countries struggle to control the spread of the new coronavirus, a minority of politicians are sticking with the outdated script", the piece stated.
Several politicians such as Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro's son have repeatedly associated the virus with China, "calling it China's fault and saying than China should bear responsibility", Nature said in a piece, calling on readers to "exercise more care" as failing to do so can harm young people from Asia and hurt "diversity in campuses".
Earlier, US President Donald Trump have repeatedly called COVID-19 a "Chinese virus", while now he accuses China of concealing data on the outbreak and threatens to cut funding for the World Health Organization because of the agency being "China-centric".
The World Health Organization introduced in 2015 its new guidelines that urge to "follow the best practices when naming a disease", such as using generic descriptive terms, preferably short or acronyms, and avoid using long, specific terms so that no cultural, regional, social or national group is offended.
Currently, Johns Hopkins University Resource Centre data shows that there are more than 1,500,000 confirmed coronavirus cases around the world with over 94,000 deaths.