Over the past years international media has been replete with images of Putin on horseback, Putin shirtless, Putin hunting and fishing, and the Russian president even engaged in a taekwondo competition.
But here’s one that’s truly new and a scene we would have never imagined, as Russian media reports:
Russian President Vladimir Putin traded his usual shirt and tie for a hazmat suit as he visited patients receiving treatment for the Covid-19 virus in a Moscow hospital.
This may be the first instance of a major world leader publicly paying a visit to confirmed Covid-19 patients — something which secret service staffers for most world leaders would no doubt warn against, given the personal risks and dangers for the highly contagious disease.
Russia’s official confirmed number of coronavirus cases rose to 495 on Tuesday, though Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin told President Vladimir Putin in a meeting “the real number of those who are sick is much greater” than official numbers indicate, per The Moscow Times.
The Russian leader donned the full protective gear at a treatment center in the Kommunarka area of Moscow on Tuesday.
He was led on a tour of the facility by head physician Denis Protsenko, according to Russian media reports. Health officials reported 57 new cases nation-wide on Tuesay.
Watch Putin gear up to enter the high secure wing of the hospital treating coronavirus patients:
Just prior to the hospital visit and Hazmat suit photo op, Putin attended a meeting with top health officials responsible for overseeing the country’s outbreak response.
The president was informed that at least two of Moscow’s coronavirus patients are deemed in “serious condition” and are currently on ventilators.
Moscow currently has at least seven hospitals specifically outfitted to treat coronavirus patients, according to state sources.
Early this week the Russian president declared the coronavirus situation in the country is “under control” due to early measures and intervention by health authorities.
Chart & data via The Moscow Times
Interestingly CNN and other major outlets in the West seem to agree that Russia has done well in preventing a potentially much bigger outbreak in the country of nearly 150 million people.
As CNN reported earlier in the week:
Does Russia have coronavirus under control? According to information released by Russian officials, Putin’s strategy seems to have worked. The number of confirmed Russian coronavirus cases is surprisingly low, despite Russia sharing a lengthy border with China and recording its first case back in January.
The numbers are picking up, but Russia — a country of 146 million people — has fewer confirmed cases than Luxembourg, with just 253 people infected. Luxembourg, by contrast, has a population of just 628,000, according to the CIA World Factbook, and by Saturday had reported 670 coronavirus cases with eight deaths.
Russia’s early response measures — such as shutting down its 2,600-mile border with China as early as January 30, and setting up quarantine zones — may have contributed to the delay of a full-blown outbreak, some experts say.
Dr. Melita Vujnovic, the World Health Organization’s representative in Russia, has also praised Russia for aggressive and widespread early testing, which also appears to have helped contained the virus.
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