Russian President Vladimir Putin is self-isolating after members of his inner circle contracted COVID-19.
The 68-year old has tested negative for the virus, according to spokesman Dmitri S. Peskov. Putin received Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine earlier this year.
“We all know that the vaccine is guaranteed to protect you from serious consequences, but cases of illness are still possible,” Peskov added. “The president is absolutely healthy.”
The Associated Press reports:
During a videoconference with government officials and members of the ruling United Russia party, Putin said that several people in his “immediate circle” were infected with the virus, including a staff member who he was in close contact with throughout Monday.
That staffer was vaccinated and recently got “revaccinated,” Putin said, apparently referring to a third shot that Russia is offering people who were immunized more than six months ago.
“Three days after revaccination he fell ill,” Putin said. “We will see how Sputnik V really works.”
The New York Times adds that Putin has been “extraordinarily careful in his public appearances, often requiring people he meets to quarantine beforehand.” Yet, he has rarely been seen in a mask and Russia has adopted virtually no COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
800 Russians are currently dying from COVID-19 everyday, a pandemic high.
On Monday, before Putin isolated, he met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. CNN reports:
Asked why Putin met with Assad if there were concerns about his exposure to people who tested positive, Peskov said the event took place before the decision to quarantine was made.
When pressed on the matter by journalists who brought up the fact Putin told Russian athletes on Monday there were people sick with coronavirus around him, Peskov reiterated there was “nothing illogical” about Putin’s schedule.