The visit by Putin, 67, comes as Russia gradually tightens quarantine measures on its citizens, with Moscow telling seniors to stay at home and the mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, warning Putin that the true number of infected was likely higher than the official numbers showed.
“The dynamics are quite high. It’s a serious situation,” said Sobyanin, the mayor, during a meeting with Putin
A video of Putin donning the yellow protective suit and respirator mask were published by Russian journalists on Tuesday. The Russian president has in the past developed the image of an action man, posing shirtless on a horse, diving beneath the waters of the Black Sea in a minisub and shooting a whale from a dart gun on a rubber dinghy.
Although seniors in Moscow have been told to self-quarantine, Putin’s staff have said that he’ll continue to work a normal schedule. The order has an exemption for executives working in “vital roles” in the government.
The visit came on the same day as a woman reportedly died at the Kommunarka hospital near Moscow. Russian officials have said that the woman was not infected with the coronavirus infection, and had passed away due to complications from cancer. So far Russia has had only one death officially attributed to the virus, but there are concerns that infection cases have gone under-counted, including as pneumonia.
Putin on Tuesday also visited a pop-up hospital being built on Moscow’s outskirts with a reported 500 beds for victims of the coronavirus.
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