Kazakhstan authorities have denied the claims made by Chinese officials suggesting that an “unknown pneumonia” far deadlier than COVID-19 is spreading in the country.

The statement came after the Chinese Embassy in Kazakhstan issued a warning on Thursday, July 9, to the citizens claiming that as many as 1,700 people have lost their lives to pneumonia that is potentially deadlier than the novel coronavirus.

"Kazakhstani Health Department and other agencies are conducting comparative research and have not defined the nature of the pneumonia virus," the statement released by the Chinese embassy reads.

The embassy further said that hundreds of new cases are being reported every day in some regions and that the new cases of unidentified pneumonia have been increasing significantly across Kazakhstan since the third week of June.

T he statement further claimed that the pneumonia is much deadlier than COVID-19 and that 628 of the total de aths reported due to pneumonia took place in June alone. A few of the total deceased due to pneumonia were Chinese citizens.

The embassy added that the numbers have soared inthe regions of Atyrau, Aktobe and Shymkent.

On Friday, July 10, t he Kazakhstan health ministry confirmed the presence of "viral pneumonias of unspecified etiology," however, it did deny the claim made by the Chinese authorities that the outbreak is new or previously 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 Kazakhstan officials mentioned in the statement.

The authorities further clarified that the the "unspecified" pneumonia classification in Kazakhstan 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."

The Chinese embassy wanred citizens to avoid going to crowded places and limit going out altogether. It further stressed the importance of washing hands frequently, wearing a mask and allowing good air circulation while staying indoors.

Wuhan, China Coronavirus / Covid-19 cases in China. (9.04.2020) Source: Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at JHU KOBU Agency/Unsplash