'Unknown pneumonia' taking Kazakhstan by storm, officials say

‘Unknown pneumonia’ said to be deadlier than coronavirus is sweeping across Kazakhstan, Chinese embassy says

  • More than 32,000 cases of the ‘unknown pneumonia’ have been reported in Kazakhstan from June 29 to July 5, along with 451 deaths
  • The Chinese embassy says Kazakhstan saw 1,772 pneumonia deaths in the first half of the year, including 628 in June, some of whom were Chinese nationals
  • It’s unknown why the embassy refers to the pneumonia as ‘unknown’ or what information it has about the outbreak
  • Chinese citizens in the country have been warned to take precautions similar to COVID-19 such as social distancing and wearing face masks 
  • Meanwhile, there are 53,021 coronavirus cases  in Kazakhstan and 264 deaths 

A fatal ‘unknown pneumonia’ with a death rate far higher than that of COVID-19 has reportedly broken out in Kazakhstan, Chinese officials have warned.

According to the Chinese embassy’s website, which is citing local media reports, the Atyrau and Aktobe provinces, as well as the city of Skymkent, have seen spikes in cases of the disease since mid-June.

Kazakhstan’s Health Ministry says it has recorded more than 32,000 cases of pneumonia between June 29 and July 5 alone, along with 451 deaths.

The embassy states that Kazakhstan saw 1,772 pneumonia deaths in the first half of the year, including 628 in June, some of whom were Chinese nationals.

The warning is oddly reminiscent of when Chinese scientists announced to the world in January that they had discovered  a never-before-seen strain of coronavirus that resembled pneumonia, now known as SARS-CoV-2.

More than 32,000 cases of the ‘unknown pneumonia’ have been reported in Kazakhstan from June 29 to July 5 along with 451 deaths compared to 53,021 coronavirus cases and 264 deaths. Pictured: A healthcare worker gives a Covid-19 test to a medical staffer near Halyk Arena in Almaty, Kazakhstan, July 5

The embassy has described the illness as an ‘unknown pneumonia’ despite officials in Kazakhstan saying it is merely a pneumonia epidemic.

It’s currently unclear why the Chinese embassy has described the pneumonia as ‘unknown’ or any information it has about the outbreak.  

‘The death rate of this disease is much higher than the novel coronavirus,’ the embassy wrote in a warning to Chinese citizens in Kazakhstan. 

‘The country’s health departments are conducting comparative research into the pneumonia virus, but have yet to identify the virus.’     

Diplomats urged Chinese nationals to take the same precautions as they were with coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan and has infected more than 12  million people around the globe.  

This includes people not leaving their homes unless necessary, wearing a face mask, practicing social distancing and washing hands thoroughly and often.

‘Some 300 people diagnosed with pneumonia are being hospitalized every day,’ Saule Kisikova, the health care department chief in Kazakh capital Nur-Sultan, told state news agency Kazinform.

Chief sanitary officer Ayzhan Esmagambetova says the mortality rate from pneumonia has increased in Kazakhstan four times in June 2020 compared to the same time frame last year. 

She added that many of those who have fallen ill were not diagnosed with COVID-19, reported RT News. 

Meanwhile, there are 53,021 death from coronavirus in Kazakhstan and 264 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 Dashboard.

The country went into a strict lockdown on March 16, but later lifted many of the restrictions on May 11.

On Sunday, Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev imposed a second round of restrictions after a surge in coronavirus cases.

On Thursday, Kazakhstani officials recorded 1,962 new COVID-19 cases, the highest-single day increase, Kazinform reported.

Tokayev said the nation was ‘in fact facing the second coronavirus wave coupled with a huge uptick in pneumonia cases,’ according to Russian news agency Tass.   

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