Putin admits the existence of “dozens” of COVID patients in his entourage

Moscow | Cluster in the Kremlin: Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed on Thursday that dozens of people around him were suffering from COVID-19, forcing him to self-isolate, an illustration of the country’s difficulties in stemming the epidemic.

“In my entourage (…) it is not one, not two, but several dozen people who have fallen ill with the coronavirus”, he announced during a meeting by videoconference at the Organization of Collective Security Treaty (OTSC), meeting in summit in Tajikistan.

“I had to cancel my visit to Dushanbe at the last moment, I’m really sorry,” he added.

Mr Putin, 68, vaccinated since March, said he would have to remain in isolation for “several more days” because of this unprecedented outbreak since the start of the epidemic in the inner circle of the master of the Kremlin .

Tuesday, he had indicated having to isolate himself by saying to have been in contact in a “very close way” with only one of his collaborators, vaccinated but sick.

Immunized for nearly six months by the Russian vaccine Sputnik V, Vladimir Poutine then said “hope that everything will go as it should” and that this vaccine “will really demonstrate its high level of protection”.

Less than 30% vaccinated

The irruption of COVID in the close entourage of the president underlines the difficulties of Moscow to fight effectively against the epidemic, between a vaccination which slips and the very random respect of the rules of distancing and the wearing of the mask.

Russia is also one of the states in the world where the pandemic has killed the most, a phenomenon that has accelerated the Russians not being vaccinated by products produced in the country, against a background of mistrust in the country. with regard to the authorities’ assurances.

The country has been particularly bereaved by the Delta variant, which has been wreaking havoc since June.

According to statistics agency Rosstat, some 350,000 Russians had died from COVID-19 by the end of July 2021.

According to a count from the Gogov site, only 27.5% of Russians were fully vaccinated to date and since December 2020.

Initially, the Kremlin, which has four national vaccines, set a target of reaching 60% vaccination by September.

Before announcing his isolation, Mr. Putin received Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and many Paralympic athletes returning from Tokyo on Monday in Moscow.

Elections this weekend

The master of the Kremlin had only very recently resumed events in public, until then protected by a drastic device to prevent him from coming into contact with the new coronavirus.

Until a few weeks ago, the overwhelming majority of his engagements were made by video and the few people who could meet him had to undergo a period of isolation of fourteen days.

Since strict containment in April and May 2020, during the first wave of the epidemic, the Russian authorities have refused to introduce new large-scale restrictive measures in order to preserve a fragile economy.

The isolation of Vladimir Putin also comes before the holding of legislative elections this weekend, from Friday to Sunday, a vote scheduled over three days to limit the risk of contamination in the polling stations.


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