COVID-19 infection rates spike after initial slow spread; senior foreign affairs analyst Greg Palkot reports.
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Dmitry Peskov, 52, who has been Putin’s spokesman since 2008, but started working with him in the early 2000s, told the Interfax news agency on Tuesday: “Yes, I’ve gotten sick. I’m being treated.”
Russians who test positive for COVID-19 but suffer only light or no symptoms are allowed to stay home. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Peskov's hospitalization reflects the gravity of his condition or was an extra precaution, according to the Associated Press.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov visits the Dream Island amusement park ahead of its upcoming inauguration in Moscow, Russia February 27, 2020. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov/Pool
Reporters from the Kremlin pool said on Twitter that Peskov was last seen in public on April 30 “at a meeting with Vladimir Putin.”
It was not clear whether it means the two were in the same room, as Putin has been conducting his meetings via teleconference in recent weeks. Peskov said he last met with Putin in-person over a month ago, Reuters reported, citing the TASS news agency.
Since early in the outbreak, the Russian president minimized meetings and switched to holding daily video calls with Cabinet members and aides. Putin, who has been working remotely from his residence outside Moscow, did hold an in-person meeting Tuesday with Igor Sechin, the head of oil giant Rosneft, Reuters reported.
Peskov's announcement comes just a day after Putin said Russia was successful in slowing down infections and announced easing some of the nationwide lockdown restrictions.
Russia has reported more than 232,000 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Tuesday. Hours before Putin made televised remarks Monday about ending the country's partial economic lockdown, health officials reported a daily record of over 11,600 new cases.
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin revealed on April 30 that he had tested positive for the virus, planned to self-isolate and would be temporarily stepping down from his duties amid treatment. Putin asked the prime minister to call him after checking into a hospital.
Culture Minister Olga Lyubimova and Construction Minister Vladimir Yakushev, as well as one of his deputies, have also tested positive with the virus.
Russian factory and construction workers returned to their jobs for the first time Tuesday after a recent surge in confirmed coronavirus cases pushed the country into the number two spot for worldwide coronavirus infections, second only to the United States.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.