Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov sent to hospital after positive test for COVID-19

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Spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that he had tested positive for coronavirus and that he was in hospital.

Dmitry Peskov told the Interfax news agency: “Yes, I fell ill. I am treated. “

The announcement came just a day after Putin said Russia has managed to slow infections and announced that some national lock-in restrictions have been relaxed.

Peskov’s wife, Olympic ice dance champion Tatyana Navka, also tested positive for the virus. She told reporters that Peskov’s condition was “satisfactory” and that the couple decided to enter the hospital so as not to expose the rest of their family.

“He brought it [the virus] of work, “said Navka, quoted by the online newspaper Daily Storm.

Peskov, 52, has been a spokesman for Putin since 2008, but started working with him in the early 2000s.

The Tass news agency quoted Peskov as saying that he last saw Putin “more than a month ago”.

Journalists from the Kremlin media community said on Twitter that Peskov was last seen in public on April 30 “during a meeting with Vladimir Putin”. It was unclear if that meant the two were in the same room, as Putin has conducted all of his meetings by teleconference in recent weeks.

Peskov is seen in a photo from 2015 with his partner, former Olympic ice dance champion and television presenter Tatiana Navka. Both tested positive for coronavirus. (Pavel Golovkin / The Associated Press)

Since the start of the epidemic, the Russian president has downplayed meetings and made daily video calls with cabinet members and assistants.

Peskov is not the only senior government official to attack the coronavirus. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin revealed on April 30 that he had tested positive for the virus. The next day, the Minister of Construction and Housing, Vladimir Yakushev, was hospitalized, and Culture Minister Olga Lyubimova said last week that she was self-isolating after being infected.

Mishustin’s spokesman said on Monday that the Prime Minister “continues to receive treatment at one of the state-run medical facilities” and that his health is improving, but gave no details on the severity of his condition.

On Tuesday, Russia reported more than 232,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 2,100 virus-related deaths. Hours before Putin gave a televised speech on Monday about the end of the partial economic deadlock, health officials reported a daily record of more than 11,600 new cases.

An investigator is seen Tuesday through a broken window at the scene of a fire at St. George’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Russia. The fire killed five patients with coronavirus. (Dmitry Lovetsky / The Associated Press)

Due to the epidemic, Putin, 67, had to postpone a national vote on constitutional changes until last month to pave the way for him to stay in office until 2036, if he wishes.

“Let’s remember that,” opposition politician Alexei Navalny tweeted after Putin’s speech. “Putin has lifted nationwide restrictions to curb the epidemic the day a record is set for new infections. W for “wisdom”. “

Deadly fire in St. Petersburg

Health officials said on Tuesday that they are investigating the safety of ventilators after fires in intensive care units, apparently due to a malfunction of the breathing apparatus. killed a total of six people in the past four days.

A fire at St. George’s Hospital in St. Petersburg on Tuesday killed five ventilated patients, which prompted a police investigation. Another fire on Saturday at Spasokukotsky hospital in Moscow killed a patient. The two hospitals had been reassigned to treat coronavirus patients, and in both cases defective Russian-made ventilators were said to have started the fires.

A Russian emergency worker disinfects a woman near the fire site at St. George’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. (Dmitry Lovetsky / The Associated Press)

The government says hospitals have enough ventilators to deal with the epidemic, and Putin said on Monday that only “a small fraction” of Russia’s ventilator stock was used.

However, doctors in hospitals outside major cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg have complained about the lack or poor quality of ventilators, as well as the widespread shortage of protective equipment.

Peskov regularly dismissed these complaints during his daily briefings and argued that Russian hospitals are well equipped with everything they need, attributing reports of shortages to isolated incidents that have been quickly dealt with by the government.

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