Russia’s Putin self-isolating after Covid-19 exposure in inner circle

President Putin is vaccinated with Russia’s vaccine, Sputnik V. He received his second dose in April 2021 (Photo: Reuters)

Russian President Vladimir Putin is self-isolating after being exposed to several people with Covid-19 but was tested for the virus and “is absolutely healthy," his press secretary said Tuesday.

Press secretary Dmitry Peskov said he didn’t know whether the people in Mr. Putin’s entourage who were sick were vaccinated against Covid-19. Mr. Putin is vaccinated with Russia’s vaccine, Sputnik V. He received his second dose in April 2021.

“You and I know that the vaccine guarantees protection from severe complications. Nevertheless, cases of infection are still possible," Mr. Peskov said.

He said Mr. Putin would continue his work virtually.

One of the sick people works in Mr. Putin’s “immediate vicinity" and was vaccinated, Mr. Putin said during an online meeting with United Russia party leaders and members of the government, according to state news agency TASS.

Mr. Putin is one of several world leaders during the pandemic who have had to quarantine because of exposure to the virus, or tested positive for Covid-19. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized in April 2020 and spent three nights in the intensive-care unit after he tested positive for the virus. French president Emmanuel Macrontested positive for Covid-19 in December 2020, affecting a number of leaders who had been in contact with him. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in March 2020 quarantined for two weeks after his wife tested positive for Covid-19.

Russia had a seven-day average of 17,919 newly reported Covid-19 cases on Monday, according to data from Our World in Data, a Oxford University-based project. That was down from an average of 24,454 two months ago.

Around 27% of Russians have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to Our World in Data. A total of 4.3% of Russians have been partially vaccinated.

Many in the country have been hesitant to get vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. The Sputnik V vaccine has also faced skepticism from both scientists and Western politicians over the speed at which it was developed, when announced last August, and the fact that it was authorized before advanced trials had begun. In February, a peer-reviewed study published in the British medical journal the Lancet showed Sputnik V was 91.6% effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19 and offered complete protection against severe cases.

Officials have been working to reboot the country’s vaccination campaign, and local authorities in some areas of Russia have made vaccination compulsory for service-sector employees.

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