Vladimir Putin of Russia is in self-isolation due to COVID cases in his inner circle
Putin, who is fully vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik V, held several public engagements indoors on Monday and even said he may have to quarantine himself soon. A then-aide sought to suggest he was speaking in general and insisted on Tuesday that no one’s health was in danger.
On a daily conference call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin was “in perfect health” but had come into contact with someone who had contracted the virus. When asked if Putin had tested negative for the virus, Peskov replied “definitely, yes”.
Peskov did not say when Putin started self-isolating, when he tested negative, how long he would remain in self-isolation, or who among the president’s contacts was infected. He said there were several cases.
Russian authorities have been regularly criticized for downplaying the pandemic and for rarely imposing measures to control it, even in the face of an increase in cases. The death toll in Russia is currently at its highest level in the pandemic, with just under 800 deaths per day. However, virtually no virus restrictions are currently in place.
Putin has hardly ever worn a mask in public, although he appears to work largely from a distance and has rarely been seen in public for a period before being vaccinated.
On Monday, Putin attended several public events, most of which were indoors and where it appeared from images on television that no one was wearing masks. He shook hands with Russian Paralympians and pinned medals on them, attended military exercises alongside Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and other officials, and met with Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose he also shook hands. hand.
During the meeting with the Paralympians, Putin signaled that he was aware of cases close to him.
“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 might have to quarantine myself soon. A lot of people around (me) are sick.”
Peskov later said Putin was speaking “figuratively”.
Asked on Tuesday why Putin had organized public events, Peskov said the decision to self-isolate was taken after “the doctors finished their tests, their procedures.” Peskov said without explaining that “nobody’s health was in danger” during Monday’s events.
Daily coronavirus infections in Russia have fallen over the past month from more than 20,000 to around 17,000 – but experts have questioned how Russia counts cases and deaths.
Despite a high number of cases, 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 injection of a coronavirus vaccine, and only 27% had been fully immunized.
Putin has at times gone to extreme lengths to protect himself from infection, despite the lack of restrictions in general. Peskov confirmed media reports that people who meet Putin in person or attend events with him must undergo “rigorous testing” or quarantine in advance.
Authorities even set up special “disinfection tunnels” at his residence and the Kremlin last year that anyone meeting Putin had to pass through. Visitors were sprayed with a disinfectant mist, although its effectiveness is unclear. Putin also once went to a hospital in full hazmat suits.
The video in the media player above was used in a previous report.
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