MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin, seen coughing during a televised government meeting, reassured officials on Monday that he was fine and said he was being tested for COVID-19 virtually every day.
“Don’t worry, everything is fine. They test me practically on a daily basis not just for COVID-19 but all kinds of other infections, so it’s all good,” the Kremlin leader replied when Valentina Matviyenko, speaker of the upper house of parliament, expressed concern about his health.
Putin, who turned 69 last week, was seen sitting alone at his screen for the online meeting. He blamed the cough on the cool air temperature and took the opportunity to urge his colleagues to get fully vaccinated.
Russia’s daily COVID-19 death toll is hovering near an all-time high. Putin was forced to self-isolate last month after members of his entourage tested positive for the coronavirus, but the Kremlin said at the time he was “absolutely healthy”.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, writing by Mark Trevelyan, editing by Hugh Lawson)