Kazakhstan is facing a deadly ‘unknown pneumonia’ more dangerous than coronavirus, China has claimed.
The Kazakh health ministry insisted on Friday the Chinese pneumonia claim was ‘not true’ despite an apparent surge in cases not confirmed as coronavirus.
And the ex-Soviet state has gone back into lockdown with the president issuing a ‘don’t panic’ message while also demanding strict adherence to lockdown rules.
Kazakhstan’s Health Ministry said it has recorded more than 32,000 cases of pneumonia between June 29 and July 5 alone, along with 451 deaths.
By comparison, the official number of coronavirus cases in Kazakhstan stands at 53,021, with 296 confirmed deaths from the disease.
Some 28,000 pneumonia patients with negative coronavirus tests are hospitalised in Kazakhstan, deputy health minister Azhar Giniyat said.
The Chinese embassy stated that Kazakhstan saw 1,772 pneumonia deaths in the first half of the year, including 628 in June, some of whom were Chinese nationals.
China, which borders the country, has expressed deep concern over the ‘unknown pnuemonia’ and issued a warning from its embassy in the Kazakh capital Nursultan.
‘The death rate of this disease is much higher than the novel coronavirus.
‘The country’s health departments are conducting comparative research into the pneumonia virus, but have yet to identify the virus.’
While saying the Chinese reports were not true, the Kazakh health minister Alexei Tsoi acknowledged his country faced numerous cases of ‘viral pneumonia of unspecified etiology [cause]’.