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Putin forced to self-isolate as COVID hits his inner circle

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White House defends new vaccine mandates 12:40

Moscow — Russian President Vladimir Putin is going into self-isolation because of coronavirus cases in his inner circle, the Kremlin said Tuesday. The announcement came in the Kremlin's readout of Putin's phone call with the Tajik President Emomali Rahmon.

Putin has been fully vaccinated with the Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V — he received his second shot in April.

Russian President Putin observes "Zapad-2021" military exercise in Nizhny Novgorod Region
Russian President Vladimir Putin (center), Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) and Chief of the General Staff of Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov visit the Mulino training ground to observe the military exercises "Zapad-2021" staged by the armed forces of Russia and Belarus in Nizhny Novgorod Region, Russia, September 13, 2021. Sputnik/Sergei Savostyanov/Pool via REUTERS

On Monday, the Russian president attended several public events. He met with the Russian Paralympians, attended military exercises conducted in coordination with Belarus, and met with Syrian President Bashar Assad. 

Asked if Putin tested negative for the virus, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, "definitely, yes."

Peskov didn't say who among Putin's contacts were infected, saying only that there were several cases.  

While the Russian leader has not tested positive for the coronavirus himself, this is the second time his daily routine has been disrupted by COVID-19.

In the spring of 2020, with the virus running rampant around the world, Putin worked remotely for several weeks as a few of his cabinet members and his spokesman tested positive for the COVID-19.

During the meeting with the Paralympians on Monday, 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."

Russia reports surge in COVID deaths 02:52

Asked why Putin proceeded with public events on Monday, even though he already knew that there were coronavirus cases around him, Peskov said that the decision to self-isolate was made after "doctors completed their testing, their procedures." Peskov assured 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 just under 800, the highest level in the pandemic. Nevertheless, hardly any virus restrictions are currently 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.  

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