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‘Unknown pneumonia’ China warned about in Kazakhstan could be COVID-19: WHO

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Geneva: The World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday that the “unknown pneumonia” reported in Kazakhstan could be COVID-19.

With reportedly over 628 deaths in the month of June 2020, the Chinese Embassy in the Kazakhstan has issued an advisory about an unknown pneumonia spreading across the Central Asian country.

Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the Health Emergencies Program of the WHO, said at a regular briefing that the WHO is working with health authorities in Kazakhstan amid a rise in reported pneumonia cases in the country.

The WHO is studying the local testing conditions and quality for COVID-19, in case that some pneumonia cases are in fact undiagnosed cases of COVID-19, said Ryan, adding that the WHO “keeps an open mind” to other possibilities.

In its advisory to it citizens, the Embassy of China stated the unknown pneumonia has a higher fatality rate when compared to COVID-19. Kazakhstan borders northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

“The Chinese embassy in Kazakhstan reminds Chinese nationals here to be aware of the situation and step up prevention to lower the infection risks,” the embassy statement said.

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