Putin's spokesman Peskov tests positive for COVID-19

Putin's spokesman Peskov tests positive for COVID-19”

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov has tested positive for Coronavirus, Russian media reported on May 12.

"I am ill. I'm being treated", Peskov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies TASS and Interfax, which specified he had COVID-19. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin told Putin during nationally televised videoconference call that he tested positive for COVID-19 on April 30. The Minister of Culture Olga Lyubimova, as well as the Construction Minister Vladimir Yakushev along with one of his deputies were also diagnosed with the virus.

Russian Federation moves up as the second country with the highest number of cases in the world with the addition of 10,800 positive COVID-19 patients in just one day.

In a surprise announcement on Monday, Putin said it was time after six weeks to gradually lift nationwide restrictions that had forced many people to work from home and businesses to temporarily close.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin meets with members of his government to discuss easing coronavirus lockdown measures.

Peskov, 52, a key aide of Putin's, revealed Tuesday that he was hospitalized with the virus but didn't give details about his condition.

Mishandling the health crisis could hurt Mr Putin's public approval after more than 20 years in power. It has been declining since 2018 when he rolled out an unpopular reform that raised the retirement age for Russians, and it is now at its lowest since 2013.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases in Russian Federation has increased to 221,344.

More news: No spike in coronavirus in places reopening, US health secretary says

"It is in the interest of all of us for the economy to return to normal quickly", Putin said.

Kremlin critics say Putin's order to ease restrictions jeopardises the population's health and is motivated by a desire for the state not to have to stump up more economic support.

"Let's remember this", opposition politician Alexei Navalny tweeted after Mr Putin's speech.

On Tuesday, health officials once again reported nearly 11,000 new infections.

Data compiled by internet firm Yandex showed that many Muscovites had left their homes on Tuesday morning in spite of the lockdown.

The government says hospitals have enough ventilators to deal with the outbreak, and Putin said Monday that only "a small fraction" of Russia's ventilator stockpile is being used. He has not held his usual daily telephone briefings with reporters since May 6.

He has been the Kremlin's feisty voice in denying Russia's involvement in various worldwide scandals, such as the inference in the 2016 USA election, the poisoning of Russia's ex-spy Sergei Skripal in the United Kingdom, and recent allegations of Russian security services plotting to poison Czech officials.

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