Chief Physician for coronavirus patients in Moscow’s Kommunarka district hospital, Denis Protsenko on Tuesday announced on Facebook he had tested positive for coronavirus. This has sparked a frenzy surrounding the health of President Vladimir Putin as the pair shared a lift in the hospital and were in close proximity during the President’s visit. Dr Protsenko’s Facebook post was translated into English by Russian News Agency Tass.
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The post read: “My dear friends, I very much appreciate your concern.
“Indeed, I have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus but I feel quite well.
“I have self-isolated in my office where I have everything I need to telecommute.”
During the visit to the hospital last Tuesday, President Putin changed into a hazmat suit after arriving in a business suit.
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However, pictures of the President and Dr Protsenko have begun circulating showing the pair shaking hands and standing closely together with other officials and doctors.
The Kremlin has since released a statement insisting that the President has not tested positive for coronavirus.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Vladimir Putin is regularly tested for coronavirus, everything is normal.”
Sky News’ Russia correspondent Diana Magnay questioned whether the Kremlin would reveal whether President Putin had contracted the disease.
She said: “President Putin certainly does not seem to be in self-isolation as the Kremlin published a picture of him meeting one of the heads of the major banks in Russia today.
“I think it goes to show, as so often things do in this country, that there is one rule for most people and another for Vladimir Putin.
“The question is would we know if he does contract COVID-19 as the Kremlin does not have a reputation for truth-telling.
“There have been many questions over whether these numbers from Russia actually do stack up.
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“This is given the fact that they are so wildly different from what we are seeing in Europe and the United States.
“But this may be because of the Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin who at the beginning of March put in place very strict quarantine requirements for people coming back from affected countries.”
At the time of writing according to the Johns Hopkins University, Russia has a total of 2,337 cases of coronavirus.
Of this figure, 17 people have died while 121 people have recovered from the virus.
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