Chinese leader Xi (Ap)


November 27, 2021 In the choice of the name Omicron for the new variant of Covid identified for the first time in South Africa, the fear of offending China would have weighed.

According to international media, in fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to skip the letter of the Greek alphabet Xi, identical to the transliterated surname of Chinese President Xi Jinping, to move on to the next one, Omicron.

Since the start of the pandemic, each variant has been indicated by a letter from the Greek alphabet. For that discovery in South Africa the letter to be used was originally the 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 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? ".

If the WHO is this scared of the Chinese Communist Party, how can they be trusted to call them out the next time they're trying to cover up a catastrophic global pandemic?

- Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 26, 2021