MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin is self-isolating after several members of his inner circle have contracted COVID-19 but does not have the disease himself, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.
Putin is “absolutely healthy” according to the Kremlin. He will not travel to Tajikistan this week for planned regional security meetings and will instead attend them virtually.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed to Russian reporters that Putin had been in contact with members of his inner circle who have the disease.
“Of course we know who fell ill in the president’s entourage and the self-isolation (regime) does not directly affect the president’s work,” said Peskov.
“But it’s just that in-person meetings will not take place for a while. But that does not affect their frequency and the president will continue his activity via video conferences.”
The Kremlin says Putin made the decision to self-isolate after his meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Russian leader also met with Russian Paralympians earlier on Monday and the news suggests the protocol keeping the 68-year-old away from anyone with COVID-19 was breached.
“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,” Peskov said.
Putin had two shots of the Sputnik V vaccine and any reporters who attended his events took multiple PCR tests and those who meet him are asked to get tested and quarantine in advance.
The Kremlin says Putin tested negative for COVID-19 but was going into self-isolation as a precaution.
“Of course yes. The president is absolutely healthy,” Peskov said.
As of Tuesday, Russia has recorded 7 million COVID-19 cases and 190,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.