Putin self-isolates after virus outbreak in his team
Vladimir Putin has gone into selfisolation because of an outbreak of the coronavirus in his entourage, the Kremlin has announced.
Although the Russian president was not sick, a Kremlin spokesperson said, he would cease holding in-person meetings and would not travel to Tajikistan this week for an international summit.
Putin last appeared in public on Monday afternoon. During a meeting with Russian Paralympic athletes, he said: “Even in my circle there are problems with Covid … I think that I may have to go into quarantine myself soon. A lot of people are sick [around me].”
On Monday evening, he had talks with the Syrian leader, Bashar alAssad. The Kremlin announced Putin’s self-isolation yesterday in a readout of a call with Emomali Rahmon, the president of Tajikistan.
“The president is absolutely healthy,” said Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesperson, adding that Putin had taken a PCR test and had a negative result.
The Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, announced on Monday that he would also skip the Tajikistan meeting, which would have been the first major summit of leaders in the region to discuss the Afghanistan crisis.
Russia experienced a new surge of coronavirus cases this summer after a vaccine drive failed to hit targets nationwide. The country is reporting nearly 18,000 new cases a day.
The Russian president has gone to extraordinary lengths to avoid falling ill with Covid, disappearing from public view for weeks last year as the disease spread through Russia.
He said he received two jabs of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V in March. Although Putin is often photographed taking meetings or playing sports, the Kremlin declined to release photographs or video of him receiving the jab.
Despite the claim that he is vaccinated, visitors have had to quarantine for up to two weeks in order to meet Putin. Last year, the Kremlin reportedly installed experimental “tunnels” that coated visitors in a disinfecting mist.