Nur-Sultan, July 10: After the Chinese embassy in Kazakhstan warned its citizens against an outbreak of a new type of pneumonia describing it as more lethal than coronavirus (COVID-19), the central Asian nation issued a clarification on Friday. Kazakhstan's healthcare ministry termed the Chinese embassy's "warning" as "fake news". "The information published by some Chinese media regarding a new kind of pneumonia in Kazakhstan is incorrect," the ministry said, as reported by news agency Reuters. China Says Will Ban Pork Imports From India to 'prevent Swine Fever': Report.

The Chinese embassy in Kazakhstan, on its official WeChat account on Thursday, pointed out at a "significant increase" in cases related to pneumonia in Atyrau, Aktobe and Shymkent cities since mid-June. It said pneumonia in Kazakhstan had claimed 1,772 lives in the year's first half, including 628 deaths that occurred in June. The victims included Chinese citizens too. "The mortality rate of the disease is much higher than that of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus," it said.

Kazakhstan's health ministry and other health institutions were carrying out a "comparative study", but no conclusions had yet been drawn, the embassy added. The "warning" from the Chinese embassy came after state news agency Kazinform's report wherein it had said the number of pneumonia cases "increased 2.2 times in June as compared to the same period of 2019". According to Kazakhstan’s health ministry, more than 32,000 cases of pneumonia had been reported between June 29 and July 5 this year alone.

As far as the coronavirus outbreak is concerned, Kazakhstan has so far reported nearly 55,000 COVID-19 infections, including 264 fatalities. The country recorded 1,962 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jul 10, 2020 03:40 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website