While it looks like Russia is facing its worst nightmare as the country recorded 106,498 cases of coronavirus and over 1,000 COVID-19 deaths, Russia President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday admitted that the country had a shortage of medical supplies for health care workers and warned that the worst of the pandemic is yet to come.
Soon after that the Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin revealed that he has tested positive for the new Coronavirus and told the President that he will be in self-isolation. It should be noted that during the absence of Mishustin, the Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov will temporarily perform all the duties. However, the Prime Minister said on Thursday that he will be in touch to discuss key issues.
Russia PM tests positive for COVID-19
During a video call, the 54-year-old Mishustin who was named as the Prime Minister in January 2020, told Putin that he would self-isolate but planned to stay in touch on key policy issues. Since the Coronavirus hit Russia, Prime Minister minimized the daily meetings and started to communicate with officials via video calls. However, it is not clear when the last time he met Putin and whether the KGB man-turned-the president is already infected or not.
In the video call, which was recorded first and then televised, the former tax chief, Mishustin didn't say if he had COVID-19 symptoms or anything about his health condition. He also showed no visible signs of the disease and talked to the President without difficulty. Then, Putin wished him a speedy recovery and said he hoped Mishustin would continue taking part in drafting policies to support Russian economy.
The conference call between Mishustin and Putin went viral on social media. In the video, Putin can be heard saying that "What happened to you, could happen to anyone" while adding that "Along with other Cabinet members and colleagues from the presidential office, you have undoubtedly been in the zone of high risk. No matter how you limit contacts, it's impossible to avoid communication with people while drafting decisions." Putin also asked the Prime Minister to call him after checking into the hospital.
Russia in the midst of the Coronavirus crisis
While it was not clear whether Mishustin's hospitalization is the sign of his deteriorating health or for an extra precaution, Russians who have the virus but light or no symptoms of COVID-19 are allowed to stay home.
While the all-over Coronavirus situation is getting worse in Russia, Putin recently admitted that there is a shortage of critical personal protective equipment for health care staffs. While announcing the extension of his nation's lockdown until May 11, he said, "The risks of getting infected are at the highest level, and the threat, the mortal danger of the virus persists. Russia has managed to slow down the spread of the epidemic, but we haven't passed the peak yet."