BISHKEK: Kyrgyzstan added thousands of cases and hundreds of deaths to its COVID-19 tally on Friday (Jul 17), describing them as cases of pneumonia most likely caused by the novel coronavirus which had not been detected by tests.
Its neighbour Kazakhstan, which has also reported a jump in pneumonia cases, said it would do the same starting next month, which would also cause a one-off spike in numbers.
Both Central Asian nations are struggling to curb the spread of the virus after ending their initial lockdowns in May.
Kazakhstan this month imposed a second lockdown after hospitals filled up in several major cities.
Kyrgyzstan reported a total of 23,783 cases of COVID-19 and COVID-like pneumonia as of Friday, having previously reported only 12,498 COVID-19 cases. The number of deaths, with the same adjustments, surged to 785 from 167.
Kazakh healthcare minister Alexei Tsoy told a briefing on Friday the Nur-Sultan government would start reporting combined figures from Aug 1.
The number of deaths from pneumonia has jumped 75 per cent so far this year compared with the same period of 2019, he said, reaching 3,327. Kazakhstan has reported 66,895 COVID-19 cases as of Friday, with 464 deaths.