Russian President Vladimir Putin is self-isolating as a precaution after several members of his inner circle contracted COVID-19 — but has tested negative for the illness and is “absolutely healthy,” the Kremlin announced Tuesday.
The 68-year-old strongman, who received the second jab of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V in April, decided to self-isolate in consultation with doctors, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
He didn’t say for how long Putin would remain in self-isolation, but assured that the leader will continue to work as usual.
Peskov told reporters that Putin is “absolutely healthy” and when asked if the president has tested negative for the virus, he said, “Definitely, yes.”
The spokesman didn’t say who among Putin’s contacts were infected, saying only that there were several cases.
A day earlier, the Russian leader met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
In addition to meeting the Syrian leader, Putin also on Monday greeted Russian Paralympians and attended military exercises conducted with Belarus.
During his meeting with the athletes, Putin mentioned that he “may have to quarantine soon.”
“Even in my circle problems occur with this COVID,” Putin 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 why Putin held public events when he knew there were COVID cases around him, Peskov said the decision to self-isolate was made after “doctors completed their testing, their procedures.”
The spokesman insisted that “no one’s health was endangered” at Monday’s events.
Russia’s COVID-19 task force has reported 7.1 million confirmed cases and 194,249 deaths, though reports by the government’s statistical service Rosstat that tally the deaths retroactively reveal much higher numbers.
The daily death toll in the country remains just under 800, the highest level in the pandemic, but hardly any virus restrictions are in place.
With Post wires