Putin’s ‘elite’ spokesman struck down by coronavirus as Russia becomes world’s second worst hit country – The Sun
ANOTHER high profile Kremlin official has been struck down by coronavirus, adding to Vladimir Putin’s woes.
As Russia becomes the world’s second hardest-hit country, the president’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, has confirmed he’s been hospitalised with Covid-19.
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“Yes, I am sick. I am receiving treatment,” Peskov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
Peskov, 52, is the Russian leader’s long time aide and also deputy head of the presidential administration.
Putin’s spokesman is the latest high profile Kremlin official to become sick with the killer bug.
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin told Putin, 67, at the end of April he had tested positive, and was temporarily stepping down to recover.
Culture Minister Olga Lyubimova was diagnosed with Covid-19 earlier this month, her spokeswoman said, while Construction Minister Vladimir Yakushev and one of his deputies were both earlier diagnosed with the virus.
Peskov was last seen by Kremlin pool journalists on April 30.
Of course, I am very worried.
His blogger daughter Liza, 22, told Gazeta.ru: “We saw each other about ten days ago – in line with all the safety measures, only outdoors.
“I won't comment on his condition. I am completely healthy.
“Of course, I am very worried.”
Peskov’s wife Tatiana Navka, 45, a former Olympic champion figure skater and two-times World Champion, is also infected and receiving treatment in hospital.
The high-ranking official said he had last met Putin in person over a month ago, the TASS news agency reported.
Peskov’s illness 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 recorded more than 232,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and over 2,100 virus-related deaths, as of Tuesday.
RT and the BBC report that Russia has the second highest number of diagnoses in the world, after the US.
Last month conspiracy theorists claimed that Putin had contracted the killer bug himself, and his appearances on TV were simply recycling old footage.
And some experts warned the Kremlin could turn on him, as the nation tries to cope with the virus.
The effects of the pandemic on top of the oil price collapse and the country's main revenue stream appear to be destabilising the Russian regime.
Medical staff say they have run out of oxygen and ambulance crews queue for hours to deliver patients to overloaded hospitals.
Billionaire oligarchs have bought up desperately needed ventilators for private use in their mansions amid public anger that the government is favouring the rich.
But, the Kremlin insists Putin’s health is rigorously protected and that he gets the best medical treatment Russia has to offer.
Putin, who has been working remotely from his plush property outside Moscow and holding many meetings via video conference, held a face-to-face meeting earlier today with Igor Sechin, the head of oil giant Rosneft.
He has come under fire for his government's response to the coronavirus crisis as cases in Russia soared to 10,000 a day in the past week.
Russia has ordered quarantined people to return to work, despite spiralling infections,
Moscow has let all of its industrial plants and construction sites resume work from today, May 12.
Putin said other regions may follow the capital's example.
Non-food stores, hairdressers, car dealers and most other enterprises in the services sector remain shut, however.
In a televised nationwide address, Putin said that from today he would start lifting restrictions that had forced many people to work from home and businesses to temporarily close.
Putin also said that unemployment had doubled to 1.4 million in a month, and he wanted to try to stop it spiralling higher.
The decision comes several days after he chatted with US President Donald Trump about oil prices.
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