by H. Haverstock, The Chicago Times

September 14, 2021

MOSCOW – The Kremlin stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin went into self-isolation after inner circle staffers became infected with the coronavirus COVID-19.

Putin, who has been fully immunized from COVID-19 with Russia’s Sputnik V, held several public appearances indoors on Monday and even hinted that he may need to quarantine soon.

At the time, an aide attempted to imply that he was speaking broadly, and on Tuesday, he insisted that no one’s health was jeopardized.

During a videoconference with government officials and members of the ruling United Russia party, Putin said that several people in his “immediate circle” including a staff member with whom he had close contact all day Monday, were infected with the virus.

That employee had been immunized and recently “revaccinated,” Putin said, presumably referring to a third shot that Russia is providing to people who were immunized more than six months ago.

Russian authorities have been repeatedly chastised for downplaying the pandemic and rarely imposing control measures, even in the face of infection surges.  Russia’s death toll is currently at its highest point of the pandemic, with just under 800 people dying every day. 

Putin has rarely worn a mask in public, despite the fact that he appeared to work largely remotely and was rarely seen in public prior to being vaccinated.

Daily coronavirus infections in Russia have dropped from over 20,000 to around 17,000 in the last month, but experts have questioned how Russia is tracking cases and deaths.  Despite heavy caseloads, Russia has struggled to vaccinate its citizens, and its rates lag far behind those of many other countries.  As of Friday, only 32% of the population had received at least one coronavirus vaccine shot, and only 27% had been fully vaccinated.

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