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Putin to self-isolate after Covid-19 case confirmed in entourage, Kremlin says, as Russian president moves major meetings online

Putin to self-isolate after Covid-19 case confirmed in entourage, Kremlin says, as Russian president moves major meetings online
Russian President Vladimir Putin will go into self-isolation as a result of at least one person around him testing positive for coronavirus, the Kremlin has announced. He is still expected to appear at meetings via video-link.

In a statement issued to journalists on Tuesday, it was confirmed that President Putin would have to isolate. During a telephone call with his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rahmon, Putin "said that in connection with the detected cases of coronavirus in his environment, he must observe the regime of self-isolation for a certain period of time," the statement reads.

Speaking to reporters later on Tuesday, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said “the president is absolutely in good health.” Peskov said President Putin’s “isolation will not affect his work, but there will be no face-to-face events for some time.”

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Putin had been due to attend a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, later this week, with the situation in Afghanistan understood to be high on the agenda. He will reportedly attend the meeting virtually. On Monday, the Russian president met Syrian leader Bashar Assad, and also attended military drills in Nizhny Novgorod with Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and General Valery Gerasimov.

The news comes just one day after Putin said that a number of cases of Covid-19 had been detected in his inner circle, and that he may soon have to cancel engagements in order to potentially prevent the spread of the virus. Peskov later said that the president had been speaking hypothetically, and that no such orders had yet been given by his doctors.

Putin received two doses of a domestic coronavirus vaccine earlier this year in a closed-door appointment. In June, the Russian leader revealed that he had been immunized with the Moscow-made Sputnik V jab. Explaining his decision, he said he requested the formula “especially since our armed forces are being vaccinated with Sputnik V, and I am the supreme commander-in-chief.”

“After the first injection, I didn’t feel anything at all,” Putin added, saying only that “after about four hours, a slight sensitivity appeared at the injection site” and he’d had a slight temperature overnight.

Russia has seen a third wave of infections in recent weeks, with 17,837 positive tests for the virus recorded in the past 24 hours. A further 781 patients were said to have died from Covid-19, bringing the total death toll since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to 194,249.

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