Kazakhstan has flatly denied allegations made by the Chinese government that the country has an unknown pneumonia outbreak more deadly than Covid-19.
On Thursday July 9, the Chinese Embassy in Kazakhstan issued a warning to it’s citizens living in the country that an unknown pneumonia had killed more than 1,700 people, urging them to take preventive measures while in the country as the disease was more deadly than Covid-19.
“Kazakhstani Health Department and other agencies are conducting comparative research and have not defined the nature of the pneumonia virus,” the statement said.
“New cases of the unidentified pneumonia have been increasing significantly since mid-June across the country”, said the embassy, adding that in some places, authorities are reporting hundreds of new cases a day.
According to the embassy, the rise was concentrated in the regions of Atyrau, Aktobe and Shymkent, which together have almost 500 new cases and more than 30 critically ill patients.
The disease killed 1,772 people this year, some of whom were Chinese citizens, according to the embassy. A total of 628 of those deaths took place in June alone. “This disease is much deadlier than Covid-19,” the statement added.
Kazakhstan has now denied China’s assertion that the pneumonia is unknown.
In a statement on Friday July 10, the Kazakhstan health ministry acknowledged the presence of “viral pneumonias of unspecified etiology,” but denied that the outbreak was new or unknown.
“In response to these reports, the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan officially declares that this information does not correspond to reality,” the statement read.
The statement added the “unspecified” pneumonia classification followed World Health Organization guidelines “for the registration of pneumonia when the coronavirus infection is diagnosed clinically or epidemiologically but is not confirmed by laboratory testing.”
In a statement posted on its social media, the Kazakhstan Health Ministry said Minister Aleksey Tsoy had spoken about a number of pneumonia cases nationwide at a briefing on Thursday. These cases included different types of bacterial, fungal and viral pneumonia — including some of “unspecified etiology.”
According to Kazakhstan’s news agency Kazinform, which cited official data, the number of pneumonia cases in the capital city Nursultan has more than doubled this June from the same time last year.
“Up to 200 people are admitted to hospitals every day. Over the last few days some 300 people diagnosed with pneumonia were taken to hospitals a day. Besides some receive treatment at home,” said the head of the Nursultan healthcare department