Beijing: China’s National Health Commission on Saturday announced that it has given the coronavirus a temporary official name, novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP).
The Commission announced the new name at a press conference on Saturday and said it should be adopted by government departments and organisations in China until a permanent name for the infection has been determined, reports the South China Morning Post newspaper.
The naming of a new virus is decided by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.
A name has been submitted to scientific journals and the committee hopes to announce it within days.
The overall death toll in China from the epidemic increased to 722, with 34,546 infected cases, the Commission said earlier on Saturday.
It was also confirmed that an American citizen died in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, due to the virus, making him the first foreign casualty in China.
The virus has spread overseas, with more than 20 nations reporting confirmed cases, although there has so far been only two deaths outside mainland China in the Philippines and China.
The other countries where coronavirus cases have been reported are Japan (86), Singapore (30),
Thailand (25), Hong Kong (26), South Korea (24), Taiwan (16), Australia (15), Malaysia (14), Germany (13), the US (12 plus one death in China), Vietnam (12), Macao (10), Canada (seven), UAE (seven), France (six), India (three), Philippines (three), the UK (three), Italy (three), Russia (two), Cambodia (one), Finland (one), Nepal (one), Sri Lanka (one), Spain (one) and Sweden (one), according to figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.