India's overall tally of Covid-19 cases now stands at 2,77,29,247 with 22,28,724 active cases, and 3,22,512 deaths, so far. Future variants that rise to "of concern" status will be labelled with subsequent letters in the Greek alphabet.
P.1, the variant first detected in Brazil, will be Gamma and B.1.671.2, variant first found in India is Delta, while earlier found variant in the country will be known as "Kappa".
The WHO earlier this month informed that the B.1.617 variant of COVID-19, first found in India in October a year ago, had been detected in sequences uploaded "from more than 40 countries in all six WHO regions".
As such, the four coronavirus variants considered of concern by the World Health Organization and known generally by the public as the UK, South Africa, Brazil and India variants have now been given the letters Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta, according to the order of their detection.
The Greek alphabet contains 24 letters but there is no plan yet as to where to go next if they are exhausted.
Other variants that too are known to be on the radar but less globally widespread and transmissible, or Variants of Interest, too had Greek names.
"No country should be stigmatised for detecting and reporting variants", she tweeted. That group is charged with naming new species of viruses - it named SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
The lineage names such as B.188.8.131.52 will still continue to be used in scientific circles, for the mutation information that their name conveys.
"While they have their advantages, these scientific names can be hard to say and recall, and are prone to misreporting. As a result, people often resort to calling variants by the places where they are detected, which is stigmatizing and discriminatory", the organisation said in a media statement. That has prompted authorities to trace those who were in contact with the patient who tested positive for the Indian variant. He added that he thinks it will be hard to now persuade people to start using the Greek alphabet labels.
In March, 2020, a variant was also found in the United States of America (B.1.427/B.1.429) and will now be known as "Epsilon". However, only 20 crore doses have been administered so far and just above 3% of the Indian population has been fully vaccinated.