Russian President Vladimir Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, has tested positive for the deadly virus and is currently undergoing treatment at a hospital.

Putin's spokesman infected 'at work'

Russia's President Putin and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov
Russia's President Putin and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov Reuters

"Yes, I have fallen ill," Peskov told state-run Tass media. "I am receiving treatment." Peskov's wife and Olympic ice dancing champion, Navka, took to Instagram to reveal that she was also sick, and that she and Peskov checked into a hospital to protect their relatives from the disease as soon as they started showing symptoms.

She added that while she was recovering from the infection, her husband's condition was more complicated. Peskov, who has been Putin's press secretary since 2008, apparently contracted the virus at work, according to Navka. "He brought it (the virus) from work," Navka was quoted as saying by the Daily Storm online outlet, as reported by the New York Times.

Is Putin's health at risk?

Peskov is the latest high-ranking member of Putin's government to test positive for COVID-19. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin revealed his COVID-19 diagnosis less than two weeks ago. The heads of Russia's construction and culture ministries have also tested positive for the deadly disease, as reported by The Moscow Times.

Even though coronavirus is spreading through the Kremlin, Peskov claims the last time he met Putin was "more than a month ago." However, reporters from the Kremlin pool said on Twitter that Peskov was last seen in public on April 30 at a meeting with the Russian president.

It is not yet clear whether the two were in close contact or were in the same room but if they were, Putin would have been exposed to the deadly virus. Over the past couple of weeks, Putin has been conducting his meetings via teleconference from his residence in Novo-Ogaryovo, outside Moscow.

Russia's coronavirus crisis

The news of Peskov's coronavirus diagnosis comes as Russia's coronavirus crisis continues to worsen. A new surge in cases has led to Russia having the second-highest number of infections in the world after the United States.

More than 230,000 cases and 2,116 deaths have been recorded in Russia, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. On Monday, Putin said Russia said the outbreak had slowed down and announced that he was planning to lift some of the nationwide lockdown restrictions.

However, there are serious doubts over the country's handling of the crisis. Health officials are reporting thousands of new infections, healthcare professionals are getting infected with the virus amid complaints that there is a shortage of protective gear, and deadly fires have broken out at two hospitals, apparently from faulty ventilators.