Russian President Vladimir Putin has gone into isolation after several cases of COVID-19 in his entourage.
Putin – who is fully vaccinated with Russian Sputnik V – has himself tested negative for the coronavirus, the Kremlin added on Tuesday.
The Russian president made several public engagements indoors on Monday and had apparently hinted that he may soon be required to self-quarantine.
On a daily conference call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin was “in perfect health” but had come into contact with someone who had contracted the virus.
When asked if Putin had tested negative for the virus, Peskov replied “definitely yes”.
No further details were given on when Putin began to self-isolate, nor on the precise number of the president’s contacts who tested positive for COVID-19.
Russian authorities have been regularly criticized for downplaying the pandemic and for rarely imposing measures to control the spread of the virus.
The death toll in Russia is currently at its highest level in the pandemic, with just under 800 deaths recorded each day. However, official daily coronavirus infections have dropped from over 20,000 to around 17,000 in the past month.
So far, only 32% of the Russian population had received at least one injection of a coronavirus vaccine, and only 27% had been fully vaccinated.
Putin hardly ever wore a mask in public, although he appeared to work largely remotely before being vaccinated.
On Monday, the Russian leader shook hands with Russian Paralympians, attended military exercises alongside Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and also met with Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Peskov said Putin continued the events because “nobody’s health was in danger”.
The Kremlin spokesman said the decision to self-isolate was only made after “the doctors finished their tests and procedures.”
Peskov also confirmed media reports that people who meet Putin in person must undergo “rigorous testing” or quarantine in advance.