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 released a warning to the citizens living in the country that more than 1,700 people had been killed by an unknown pneumonia, urging them to take preventive measures because in the country 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.
The rise was concentrated in the regions of Atyrau, Aktobe and Shymkent, which together have nearly 500 new cases and more than 30 critically ill patients, the embassy said.
According to the embassy, this year the disease killed 1,772 people, some of whom were Chinese citizens. In June alone, a total of 628 of those deaths occurred. “This disease is much more deadly than Covid-19” continued the statement.
Kazakhstan has now refuted the claim by China that the pneumonia is not identified.
The Kazakh health ministry confirmed the existence of “viral pneumonias of unspecified etiology” in a statement on Friday July 10, but denied that the epidemic was either 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 their social media, the Kazakh Ministry of Health said Minister Aleksey Tsoy had spoken at a briefing on Thursday about a number of pneumonia cases nationwide. Such cases contained numerous types of bacterial , fungal, and viral pneumonia — including some “unspecified etiology.”
The number of pneumonia cases in the capital city Nursultan has more than doubled this June from the same time last year, according to Kazakhstan’s news agency Kazinform, which cited official data.
“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.