- The Chinese embassy in Kazakhstan has issued a warning for its citizens regarding an “unknown pneumonia outbreak” in the country, claiming it is “much deadlier than Covid-19.”
- The said outbreak has caused 628 deaths “in June alone,” according to the embassy.
- Health officials of Kazakhstan, however, denied the claims, saying China’s allegations “did not confirm to the reality.”
A Chinese embassy recently warned its citizens in Kazakhstan about an “unknown pneumonia outbreak” in the country that is potentially deadlier than coronavirus. According to the statement issued by the embassy, the disease has claimed 1,772 lives so far this year with 628 deaths “in June alone.”
According to Chinese officials, the outbreak had affected three cities in the country namely Aktobe, Atyrau, and Shymkent. Some of the casualties, they said, were Chinese nationals. “This disease is much deadlier than Covid-19,” the notice read.
A mysterious new outbreak in Kazakhstan?
The government of Kazakhstan, however, was quick to deny the allegations, dismissing China’s warning as baseless.
According to the country’s health ministry,while it is true that there are “viral pneumonias of unspecified etiology,” the embassy’s statements did “not correspond to reality,” adding that their pneumonia statistics include individuals who tested negative of Covid-19 but showed some of the symptoms.
The ministry likewise pointed out that pneumonia mortality rate is also lower with this year’s 1,172 compared with1,780 on the first half of 2019. This is despite the 55% increase in the number of recorded cases during the same period. 2019 had 63,436 while 2020 had 98,546.
On the other hand, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian distanced himself from the embassy’s warning, pointing out that Beijing still needs additional information about the situation.
“China looks forward to continuing cooperation with Kazakhstan to jointly fight the epidemic and safeguard public health in both countries,” he remarked.
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Meanwhile, the World Health Organization said the mysterious outbreak is likely coronavirus. In an online briefing, WHO Health Emergencies Program executive director Michael Ryan explained that he thinks the cases have “just have not been diagnosed correctly.”
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