Putin to Self-Isolate After Covid-19 Outbreak in Kremlin
(Bloomberg) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin will go into self-isolation after being exposed to several people in his entourage infected with Covid-19, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday.
The 68-year-old leader is “absolutely healthy” and has tested negative for Covid-19, Peskov told a regular conference call. Putin will avoid in-person meetings for “some time,” he said. Plans to fly to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, this week to attend regional summit meetings were canceled and Putin will participate via video conference, he said.
Putin said he’d spent an entire day with one of the infected people, who was among his closest staffers. That person had been vaccinated and received a booster shot just three days before falling ill, Putin said in televised comments.
Putin has eased once-strict restrictions on public events and meetings in recent months, following the announcement earlier this year that he received Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against Covid.
“We’ll see how effective Sputnik V is in practice,” Putin said Tuesday, adding that he currently has “rather high” levels of antibodies against the virus.
On Monday, he conducted a full schedule of in-person events, starting with a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and including celebrations with Paralympic athletes and a trip to a military training ground for maneuvers. TV footage of the events showed no evidence of social distancing and very few participants wearing masks.
Putin said Monday he may have to quarantine because of rising cases among the people around him, according to a video published by Life.ru.
“We need to figure out what is really happening with this Covid,” Putin told Paralympians as he signed their medals. “I probably will have to quarantine myself soon. We have a lot of people who are sick.”
Peskov denied that Putin put anyone at risk at the events Monday and said the decision to go into self-isolation was made only afterward. He declined to identify who had exposed the president or say how long the president plans to be in isolation.
While coronavirus deaths in Russia reached all-time high last month, they are still hovering around record daily rates, and authorities fear an autumn rebound in infections, with only about a third of the population vaccinated.
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