Putin self-isolates after Covid outbreak in inner circle

The Russian leader attended several events on Monday, meeting Paralympians and the Syrian president

The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin is self-isolating because of coronavirus cases among his inner circle.  AP
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Russian President Vladimir Putin is self-isolating after multiple people in his inner circle tested positive for Covid, the Kremlin has said.

He has been vaccinated with the Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V, receiving his second shot in April.

On Monday, he attended several public events where he met Russian Paralympians and Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad.

He also attended military exercises conducted in co-ordination with Belarus.

The announcement came in the Kremlin’s report of Mr Putin’s phone call with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Mr Putin is “absolutely healthy”, but will self-isolate after coming into contact with someone who had contracted the virus.

He did not say how long Mr Putin would remain in self-isolation, but assured that the president would continue working as usual.

Asked whether Mr Putin had tested negative for the virus, Mr Peskov said: “Of course, yes.”

Mr Peskov did not say whom among Mr Putin’s contacts were infected, saying only that there were several cases.

During the meeting with the Paralympians, Mr Putin mentioned that he “may have to quarantine soon”.

“Even in my circle problems occur with this Covid,” the Russian leader 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 the president proceeded with public events on Monday, even though he already knew that there were coronavirus cases around him, Mr Peskov said that the decision to self-isolate was made after “doctors completed their testing, their procedures”.

He said that “no one’s health was endangered” at Monday’s events.

Russia’s daily new coronavirus infections in recent weeks have plateaued around 17,000-18,000, with the daily death toll remaining slightly less than 800, its highest level throughout the pandemic. Hardly any virus restrictions are in place in Russia.

Russia’s state coronavirus task force has reported a total of 7.1 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 194,249 deaths. However, reports by the government’s statistical service Rosstat that tally coronavirus-linked deaths retroactively reveal much higher numbers.

Updated: November 22, 2021, 8:39 AM