This undated electron microscope image made availalbe by the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows novel coronavirus particles, also known as the MERS virus, colorised in yellow. Image Credit: AP

China’s National Health Commission gave the Wuhan coronavirus a temporary name at a news conference on Saturday.

A screengrab from
A screengrab from a video shows the novel coronavirus in microscopic view. Image Credit: Doherty Institute, University of Melbourne

For weeks, the rapidly-spreading virus has only been known by the name of the city where it originated, something which locals in Wuhan have found frustrating and stigmatizing.

Chinese officials said that the virus would temporarily be named the Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (NCP).

There is no news on when an official final title for the virus will be designated.

More deaths than SARS

The Wuhan coronavirus has now killed more people than SARS. But it's probably less deadly.

More than 810 people have now died of the pneumonia-like novel coronavirus, making it more deadly than the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak between 2002 and 2003.

But while it may have killed more people, the death rate of the novel coronavirus is much lower than SARS.

According to the World Health Organization, the death rate for the SARS epidemic was 9.6% -- so for every 10 people who got it, on average one would die.

In comparison, the death rate for the coronavirus so far has appeared to be much lower. On current numbers, the death rate appears to be at 2.2% globally, less than a quarter of SARS.

However, the coronavirus also appears to be more contagious than SARS.

While in total, SARS only had just over 8,000 confirmed cases, the current virus has already infected more than 37,000 people across the world.