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Coronavirus

Russia’s Putin quarantines after close contacts test positive for COVID-19

Published: Updated:

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that dozens of people in his entourage had tested positive for the coronavirus before he went into self-isolation.

“As you know, cases of the coronavirus were detected in my inner circle. Not just one or two but several dozen people,” Putin said, speaking via video link at a meeting of a Moscow-led security alliance.

Putin is self-isolating as a precaution after several members of his entourage fell ill with COVID-19, but is “absolutely” healthy and does not have the disease himself, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.

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Putin, 68, will therefore not travel to Tajikistan this week for planned regional security meetings which he will take part in by video conference instead.

The Kremlin said Putin took the decision to self-isolate after he had met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Kremlin on Monday, in consultation with doctors.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, September 13, 2021. Picture taken September 13, 2021. (Reuters)
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, September 13, 2021. Picture taken September 13, 2021. (Reuters)

Putin also met Russian Paralympians and travelled to western Russia on Monday to observe joint military drills with Belarus.

The Kremlin leader’s decision to self-isolate suggests a potential breach in the rigorous regime set up to keep Putin, who turns 69 next month, healthy and away from anyone with COVID-19.

Kremlin visitors have had to pass through special disinfection tunnels, Putin has had two shots of Russia’s flagship Sputnik V vaccine, journalists attending his events have to undergo multiple PCR tests, and people he meets are asked to quarantine beforehand and be tested.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Putin had been in touch with several people in his entourage who had fallen ill with COVID-19.

“Of course we know who fell ill in the president’s entourage and the self-isolation (regime) does not directly affect the president’s work,” said Peskov.

“But it’s just that in-person meetings will not take place for a while. But that does not affect their frequency and the president will continue his activity via video conferences.”

Asked if Putin had tested negative for COVID-19, Peskov said: “Of course yes. The president is absolutely healthy.”

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