Russian President Vladimir Putin is self-isolating after several members of his inner circle tested positive for the coronavirus, the Kremlin announced on Tuesday.
Dimitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, stated that Putin tested negative for COVID-19 but he appears to be “absolutely healthy.”
The announcement comes after someone Putin worked closely with fell ill with COVID, along with multiple other members of his tight-knit staff.
The staffer Putin worked closely with was vaccinated against COVID and had even received a booster shot, according to the Russian President:
“He was revaccinated, apparently, a bit too late. He fell ill three days after the revaccination. The day before I communicated with him very closely, all day long,” Putin said.
“This is an experiment — let’s see how Sputink V actually works. Because my (antibodies) are high. Hope everything will be as it should be and Sputnik will show its high parameters for protection against Covid-19 in real life,” he added.
Putin had met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday before making the decision to go into quarantine. He also met with Russian Paralympians and informed them that members of his “innermost circle” had tested positive for the virus. Peskov asserted that there was “nothing illogical” about Putin’s actions on Monday:
“First, I can say that Putin did not meet with Assad at the end of the day, it was at the beginning of the working day. And everything else, as the doctors completed their studies and the necessary procedures … a decision was made. There is nothing illogical here. At that time (when the meetings happened), doctors were still doing their tests. Nobody’s health was endangered.”
Putin addressed the unfolding situation directly on a call with the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, informing Rahmon that he would be isolating for “a certain period of time” due to the infections spreading in his milieu.
Putin will be transitioning all of his forthcoming appointments to videoconference:
“Isolation does not directly affect the work of the President. But there will be no face-to-face events for some time,” said Peskov.
Putin’s struggle to contain COVID-19 in Russia
Russia, which has been struggling in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic, currently reports the eighth-highest amount of cases in the world. On Tuesday it reached over 7 million cases and 190,000 deaths.
The country is in the midst of an especially brutal third wave of infections, and weekly death rates are on a sharp incline.
Russia has struggled to convince its population to get vaccinated despite producing multiple successful COVID-19 vaccines. Only a quarter of adults in Russia have gotten their first dose — while more than half in the United States have received theirs. Putin received the vaccine this past March.