Moscow – Russian leader Vladimir Putin has decided to handle his duties remotely, the Kremlin said Wednesday, after the head of the country’s main coronavirus hospital tested positive following a meeting with the president.
Denis Protsenko, who met with Putin last week as the Russian leader visited the Kommunarka hospital in Moscow, said Tuesday he had been infected with the coronavirus but was feeling well.
“The president prefers these days to work remotely,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists, shortly before Putin was due to hold a cabinet meeting by videoconference.
“We are taking all precautionary measures,” he said, adding that Putin was at the presidential residence in Novo-Ogaryovo outside Moscow.
Putin donned a bright yellow hazmat suit for the visit last Tuesday to the hospital. He was also seen talking to Protsenko without any protective gear but the Kremlin said there is no reason for concern about the president’s health.
“All of those who were with the president at Kommunarka are being tested daily for the coronavirus,” Peskov added, after saying on Tuesday that “everything is fine” with Putin.
Asked if Putin continued to shake hands with those he is meeting, Peskov said: “Of course everyone is now social distancing.”
Almost 70 percent of Russia’s 147 million population has been ordered into strict confinement over the pandemic, following a first announcement by the mayor of Moscow on Sunday.
Russia has so far registered 2,777 cases of the coronavirus and 24 deaths, mostly in Moscow.