Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov hospitalised after contracting coronavirus

12 May 2020, 14:16

Dmitry Peskov confirmed he was receiving treatment for Covid-19 on Tuesday
Dmitry Peskov confirmed he was receiving treatment for Covid-19 on Tuesday. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov has been hospitalised after contracting coronavirus.

The Russian President’s press secretary confirmed he was receiving treatment for Covid-19 on Tuesday.

He told reporters: “Yes, I’ve gotten sick. I’m being treated.”

Mr Peskov told news agency TASS that he last had personal contact with Putin more than a month ago.

The 52-year-old has been Mr Putin's spokesman since 2008, but started working with him in the early 2000s.

Russians who have the virus but light or no symptoms of illness are allowed to stay home, and it was not immediately clear if Mr Peskov's admission to hospital reflects the gravity of his condition or was an extra precaution.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) and his spokesman Dmitry Peskov
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) and his spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Picture: PA

Reporters from the Kremlin pool said on Twitter that Mr Peskov was last seen in public on April 30 "at a meeting with Vladimir Putin".

It was not clear whether it means the two were in the same room, as Mr Putin has been conducting all his meetings via teleconference in recent weeks.

Since early in the outbreak, the Russian president minimised meetings and switched to holding daily video calls with cabinet members and aides.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin also tested positive for Covid-19 12 days ago.

Despite his spokesman’s illness, the President declared an end to a nationwide partial economic shutdown on Tuesday but noted that some restrictions will remain.

Mr Putin, speaking in a televised address to the nation, said that it will be up to regional governors in the far-flung Russian Federation to determine which industrial plants could reopen starting on Tuesday.

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He emphasised that it is essential to preserve jobs and keep the economy running provided that workers strictly observe sanitary norms.

The president ordered the economic shutdown in late March, although key industrial plants and some other sectors have been allowed to continue operating.

Most Russians have been ordered to stay home, except for visits to nearby stores, pharmacies and visits to doctors.

Moscow will allow all of its industrial plants and construction sites to resume work starting today, and Mr Putin said other regions may follow the example.

Non-food stores, hairdressers, car dealers and most other enterprises in the services sector remain shut.

Mr Putin emphasised that the restrictions must be lifted gradually to avoid triggering a new wave of contagion.

Russia has reported more than 232,000 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Tuesday.