The Central Asian country of Kazakhstan, according to a warning issued by Chinese officials Thursday is facing a deadly ‘unknown pneumonia’ that is more dangerous than coronavirus, and has reportedly killed more than 1,700 people this year.
The alert comes as the Kazakh authorities have admitted both a ‘second wave’ spike in Covid-19 but also a sharp rise in pneumonia cases.
On Thursday, the Chinese Embassy in Kazakhstan issued a warning to citizens living in the Central Asian country that pneumonia had killed more than 1,700 people.
“Kazakhstani Health Department and other agencies are conducting comparative research and have not defined the nature of the pneumonia virus,” the statement said.
The disease has killed 1,772 people this year, some of whom were Chinese citizens, according to the embassy. 628 of those deaths took place in June alone. “This disease is much deadlier than Covid-19,” said the statement.
The Chinese embassy warned residents in the region to limit how much they went outside, and to avoid crowded public areas. It also encouraged preventative measures like wearing a mask, disinfecting spaces, washing hands frequently, and allowing good air circulation in indoor spaces.
Authorities in Kazakhstan have, however, denied the report published by the Chinese officials that the country is experiencing an outbreak of “unknown pneumonia” potentially deadlier than the novel coronavirus.
In a statement on Friday, the Kazakhstan health ministry acknowledged the presence of “viral pneumonia 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.
It 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.”
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