Posted 1 week ago
Russian President Vladimir Putin entered self-isolation after people in his inner circle became infected with the coronavirus, the Kremlin said Tuesday, adding that the leader himself tested negative for COVID-19.
Putin, who is fully vaccinated with Russia's domestically developed Sputnik V, has hardly ever worn a mask publicly, though he appeared to work largely remotely and was rarely seen in public for a period before he was vaccinated. He's also recently held public events.
During a daily conference call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Putin, 68, is “absolutely healthy” but had come in contact with someone who contracted the virus. Asked if Putin tested negative for the virus, Peskov said “definitely, yes.” Putin called Tajikistan's President Emomali Rahmon and told him he could not travel because he was self-isolating and would instead take part in meetings via a video link.
Peskov didn’t say when Putin began self-isolating, when he tested negative, how long he would remain in self-isolation or who among the president's contacts was infected.
“Even in my circle problems occur with this COVID,” the Russian leader was quoted by the state RIA Novosti news agency as saying. “We need to look into what's really happening there. I think I may have to quarantine soon myself. A lot of people around (me) are sick."
Asked Tuesday about why Putin proceeded with public events, Peskov said that the decision to self-isolate was made after “doctors completed their testing, their procedures.” Peskov said without explaining that “no one's health was endangered” at Monday's events.
Russia’s daily coronavirus infections have fallen in the past month from over 20,000 to about 17,000 — but experts have called into question how Russia is tallying cases and deaths.
Despite high caseloads, Russia has struggled to vaccinate its citizens, and its rates lag behind many other countries. As of Friday, only 32% of the population had received at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccine, and only 27% had been fully vaccinated.
Officials even set up special “disinfection tunnels” last year at his residence and the Kremlin that anyone meeting Putin had to walk through. The visitors were sprayed with a disinfectant mist, although it is not clear how effective that is. Putin also once visited a hospital in a full hazmat suit.
Topic: World News
Tags: Vladimir Putin Putin Covid-19