On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he was self-isolating after many members of his entourage became ill with COVID-19, including someone with whom he worked closely.
Russian President has received two doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, explained the situation to a government meeting via video conference after the Kremlin said he was “absolutely” healthy and did not have the disease himself.
“It’s a natural experiment. Let’s see how Sputnik V works in practice,” Putin said. “I have quite high levels of antibodies. Let’s see how that plays out in real life. I hope everything will be as it should be.”
Putin, 68, said he had to cancel a trip to Tajikistan this week for regional security meetings scheduled to focus on Afghanistan due to the circumstances, but that he would participate by video conference instead. The Kremlin said
Putin made the choice to self-isolate following a full day of meetings on Monday, which included face-to-face talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the Kremlin.
On Monday, Putin met with Russian Paralympians and travelled to western Russia to attend joint military drills with Belarus.
According to the RIA news agency, he expressed concern to the Paralympians on Monday about the COVID-19 situation in the Kremlin.
“Problems with this COVID are even surfacing in my entourage,” Putin was quoted as saying at the time. “I think I’ll be forced to quarantine myself soon. Many people around me are sick.”
He claimed on Tuesday that a colleague he worked with in close proximity – one of several entourage members who had fallen ill with COVID-19 – had been vaccinated, but that his antibody count had dropped and a person had been unwell three days after being revaccinated.
“Judging by everything, that was a little late (to get revaccinated),” Putin said.
Kremlin visitors have had to pass through special disinfection tunnels, journalists covering his activities must submit to several PCR testing, and some people he meets must quarantine and be tested beforehand.
Putin’s work rate, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, would not be affected.