On Thursday the Chinese embassy in Kazakhstan warned its citizens a new “unknown pneumonia” had struck the country. It claimed 1,772 people, including Chinese nationals, have been killed by the mystery disease since the beginning of the year.
Authorities in Kazakhstan have dismissed the Chinese report which they claim does “not correspond to reality”.
However Kazakhstan has admitted its number of coronavirus cases is increasing and in response the country has imposed new restrictions on movement.
On Wednesday the UK Foreign Office updated its travel advice for Kazakhstan stating: “Travel to Kazakhstan is subject to entry restrictions.”
It added: “The Kazakh authorities have introduced severe restrictions on people entering the country and most foreign nationals are currently not allowed to enter Kazakhstan.”
The Foreign Office updated its travel advice for Kazakhstan after reports of a new disease
Kazakh authorities say reports of a new disease don’t “correspond to reality”
Any British resident who does manage to enter Kazakhstan will be required to self-isolate for 14 days on their return to the UK.
They will also have to provide authorities with their contact details and an itinerary of their journey.
Due to coronavirus the Foreign Office is currently advising British nationals against “all but essential international travel”.
However recently this instruction was updated to take account of countries with where the COVID-19 outbreak is believed to be under control.
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Kazakhstan has banned nearly all foreigners in response to the COVID-19 outbreak
As a result British authorities don’t object to UK nationals travelling to a number of countries including France, Spain, Germany and Japan.
However prospective travellers should also check their desired destination has not placed any limits on British visitors before making their trip.
According to the Chinese embassy in Kazakhstan the cities of Aktobe, Shymkent and Atyrau are epicentres of the new “pneumonia” type disease.
On Friday Kazakhstan’s health ministry strenuously denied claims the country is fighting a new disease.
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Kazakhstan has reported 55,000 coronavirus cases
264 people are reported to have died from COVID-19 in Kazakhstan
In total Kazakhstan has reported 55,000 coronavirus cases along with 264 deaths.
However critics believe the real figure is higher, with some COVID-19 patients being diagnosed with pneumonia instead.
According to Aleksey Tsoy, Kazakhstan’s health minister, the country has seen a 50 percent increase in the number of pneumonia cases for the first six months of this year versus the first six months of 2019.
He reported 1,780 pneumonia cases from January-June 2020, compared to just 1,172 in the same period the year before.
On Friday the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it was aware of reports of a new pneumonia like condition in Kazakhstan which is claimed could be COVID-19.
Mike Ryan, head of the body’s emergency programme, commented: “The upward trajectory of COVID-19 in the country would suggest that many of these cases are in fact undiagnosed cases of COVID-19.”
So far over 11.8million people have been diagnosed with coronavirus with some 544,000 being killed.
According to the WHO the outbreak is continuing to accelerate with the situation particularly acute in the US, Brazil and India.
Over 11.8million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 worldwide
There are also concerns about Africa, which initially was spared the worst of the coronavirus epidemic, following a sharp increase in South African cases.
On Friday Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested wearing masks may be made compulsory in English shops, following a similar move in Scotland.
He explained: “The balance of scientific opinion seems to have shifted more in favour of them than it was, and we’re very keen to follow that.”