"Viruses know no borders and they don't care about your ethnicity, the color of your skin or how much money you have in the bank. So it's really important we be careful in the language we use lest it leads to the profiling of individuals associated with the virus," said Executive Director of WHO Health Emergencies Programme Mike Ryan in response to Trump's usage of the "Chinese Virus" on Wednesday.
Ryan said that the 2009 (H1N1) pandemic started in North America, and people don't call it the North American flu. So when it comes to other viruses, the same approach must be used, avoiding connecting a virus with a region.
He stressed that this is the time to fight the virus together, and people need to work together, rather than blaming each other.
"All we need now is to identify the things we need to do to move forward quickly, with speed and to avoid any indication of ethnic or other associations with this virus," said Ryan.
More than 200,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported globally, taking over 8,000 people's lives, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday.
"Spirit of solidarity must be at the center of our efforts to defeat COVID-19," said Ghebreyesus.