MOSCOW (AP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin is isolating himself due to coronavirus cases in his entourage, the Kremlin said on Tuesday, adding that he had tested negative for COVID-19.
The announcement came as the Kremlin read Putin’s phone call with the President of Tajikistan. Putin was fully vaccinated with the Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V, receiving his second injection in April.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Putin was “absolutely healthy” but would self-isolate after coming into contact with someone who contracted the virus. He did not say how long Putin would remain in isolation, but assured the president would continue to work as usual.
When asked if Putin had tested negative for the virus, Peskov replied “definitely, yes”.
Peskov did not say who among Putin’s contacts was infected, saying only that there were several cases.
On Monday, the Russian president attended several public events. He greeted Russian Paralympians, attended military exercises conducted in coordination with Belarus and met Syrian President Bashar Assad.
During the meeting with the Paralympians, Putin mentioned that he “should perhaps soon be quarantined”.
“Even in my entourage, problems arise with this COVID,” said the Russian leader as quoted by the state news agency RIA Novosti. “We need to look at what’s really going on there. I think I may have to quarantine myself soon. A lot of people around (me) are sick.
When asked why Putin held public events on Monday, even though he already knew there were cases of coronavirus around him, Peskov said the decision to self-isolate was made after that “the doctors have finished their tests, their procedures”. Peskov assured that “nobody’s health was in danger” during Monday’s events.
New daily coronavirus infections in Russia in recent weeks have peaked at around 17,000 to 18,000, with the daily death toll remaining slightly below 800, the highest level in the pandemic. Nevertheless, hardly any virus restrictions are currently in place in Russia.
The Russian State Coronavirus Task Force has reported a total of 7.1 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 194,249 deaths. However, reports from the government’s Rosstat statistical service that count coronavirus-related deaths retroactively reveal much higher figures.
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