Putin in Self-Isolation After Aides Are Infected With Virus
The president of Russia, who has said he is fully vaccinated, canceled a planned trip to Tajikistan, the Kremlin said.
Vladimir Putin is self-isolating after members of his entourage are infected.
President Vladimir V. Putin signaled on Monday that he might have to self-isolate because of possible coronavirus exposure.Credit…Pool photo by Sergei Savostyanov
Sept. 14, 2021Updated 6:10 a.m. ET
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is self-isolating because of possible exposure to the coronavirus, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.
Mr. Putin canceled a planned trip to Tajikistan this week for a summit with leaders from Central Asia and former Soviet countries, the Kremlin said, describing a phone call that Mr. Putin had with Emomali Rahmon, the Tajik president.
“Vladimir Putin said that in connection with identified cases of the coronavirus in his environment, he must observe self-isolation for a certain period of time,” the statement said.
Mr. Putin said earlier this year that he had been vaccinated with the two-dose regimen of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. But he has continued to be extraordinarily careful in his public appearances, often requiring people he meets to quarantine beforehand.
Mr. Putin signaled on Monday that he might have to self-isolate, although some Russian news outlets interpreted his comments as a joke.
“Even around me, there are problems with this Covid thing,” he said in an informal conversation with Paralympic athletes at an event at the Kremlin that was broadcast by state media. “I think I might have to quarantine soon, myself.”
Mr. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, told reporters on Tuesday that the president had been in close contact with multiple people who had tested positive for the virus. He said Mr. Putin would continue working while in self-isolation and voiced confidence that the vaccine would protect him from a serious case of the disease.
“We all know that the vaccine is guaranteed to protect you from serious consequences, but cases of illness are still possible,” Mr. Peskov said. “The president is absolutely healthy.”
Mr. Putin had several in-person events on Monday as officials were deliberating over whether or not he should go into quarantine. In addition to hosting Paralympic athletes, Mr. Putin on Monday met with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, a close Russian ally in the Middle East. The meeting with Mr. Assad, Mr. Peskov said, took place “before the decision was made about the necessity of self-isolation.”
“No one’s health was put in danger,” Mr. Peskov said.