Neither Nu nor Xi: WHO skips two Greek letters for naming new Covid variant Omicron  

WION Web Team
London Published: Nov 27, 2021, 02:21 PM(IST)

World Health Organization skipped two letters in the Greek alphabet, Nu and Xi, for the naming of new Covid variant Omicron (representative image). Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

For the naming of new Covid variant Omicron, two letters in the Greek alphabet, Nu and Xi, were skipped for various reasons by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday. The officials seem to have skipped ‘Nu’ in order to avoid confusion with the word “new” and ‘Xi’ to its similarity to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s name, speculated experts

Naming can get tricky sometimes even when someone is following a sequence of letters. Although it shouldn’t happen usually, it can at times.   

The same holds true for the naming of new Covid variant Omicron, where two letters in the Greek alphabet, Nu and Xi, were skipped for various reasons by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday.  

The new Covid variant, which was first detected in southern Africa, has taken the world by surprise.

Also Read: As new Covid variant emerges, Indian PM chairs meeting to assess situation  

Since its emergence, the world has been taking several kinds of steps, such as imposing travel curbs and tightening border controls, to contain the spread of the new variant. It has already been found in Israel and some countries of Europe.  

The process of choosing name for this new Covid variant also wasn’t an easy task for the authorities even when they were following a sequence.   

The officials seem to have skipped ‘Nu’ in order to avoid confusion with the word “new” and ‘Xi’ to its similarity to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s name, speculated experts.  

Also Read: WHO warns against travel curbs due to new variant, says 'closely monitoring'

US Senator Ted Cruz retweeted an editor of Telegraph’s post that cited a source at WHO saying Xi was skipped to “avoid stigmatising a region.”  

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

(With inputs from agencies) 

Read in App