But Ryan also said it was possible it might be COVID-19.
"The upward trajectory of COVID-19 in the country would suggest that many of these cases are in fact undiagnosed cases of COVID-19," he told reporters during an online briefing from Geneva.
- Yes, thank you for taking my question. I wanted to ask, we've noticed reports circulating about pneumonia in Kazakhstan that may be quote, "deadlier than COVID." That's what some of these reports are saying.
MICHAEL RYAN: Yes, that this is certainly on our radar. And we've been tracking COVID-19 across all of Europe, and particularly in the central Asian republics, including Kazakhstan. There are a number of explanations that can explain the reported rise in the number of pneumonias in Kazakhstan, and we're working with the authorities there to investigate.
More than 10,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported by national authorities over the last seven days. So there's been a big surge in actual COVID cases itself. We're looking at the actual testing and the quality of the testing to make sure that there haven't been false negative tests for some of those other pneumonias those that have provisionally tested negative.
And that is likely to be a major cause of this, that in many ways, many of these pneumonia cases may also-- will also be COVID-19. They just have not been diagnosed correctly. But again, that remains to be seen.
There are clusters of atypical pneumonia that can occur anywhere in the world at any time. Can be caused by diseases as wide ranging as legionella, chlamydia, influenza, and other things.
But the upward trajectory of COVID-19 cases in the country would suggest that many of these cases are, in fact, undiagnosed cases of COVID-19. But as I said, we keep an open mind until we have an absolute confirmation of the diagnosis of these clusters. Maria.