Putin in Self-Quarantine as Hospital Administrator He Came in Contact with Tested Positive for Covid-19; In 2nd Address to the Nation, Putin Announcs Work Holiday Extended Through End of April, Some Regions Permitted to Take Stronger Measures Amidst Pandemic; Kremlin Denies Trump’s Claim of Imminent Deal Between Russia & KSA on Oil

Putin Gives 2nd Address to Russia on Covid-19 Crisis

It was recently announced that Putin is under self-quarantine at his residence outside of Moscow after learning that a hospital administrator he came in contact with last week had tested positive for Covid-19. As reported by Zerohedge (emphasis in original)

On Tuesday it was revealed that Denis Protsenko, the head doctor at the infectious diseases hospital treating coronavirus patients in Moscow, tested positive for COVID-19.

Just a week ago Dr. Protsenko was photographed shaking hands with President Vladimir Putin, during the Russian leader’s visit to the hospital, where he donned a full protective Hazmat suit to visit patients. But during most of his interaction with Protenko, Putin wasn’t wearing the protective gear. 

Putin’s office now reports he’ll conduct his duties remotely, in self-isolation after the exposure. “The president prefers these days to work remotely,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the press just before Putin was due to hold a cabinet meeting by videoconference Wednesday.

After a surge in confirmed cases of the virus earlier this week, Putin gave a second address to the nation on Thursday regarding the Covid-19 crisis (see video above). In that address he announced that the paid work holiday would be extended through the end of April. According to Bryan MacDonald’s report at RT:

Putin said the peak of the coronavirus epidemic is yet to come both globally and in Russia. Moscow, which is the hardest hit Russian city, announced almost 600 new confirmed cases on Thursday. 

“I’ve made a decision to extend the time off until the end of the month, that is, until April 30 inclusively, while maintaining wages for employees,” the President said.

According to Putin, the combination of isolation regimes and holidays will allow Russia “to buy time for proactive measures.” However, he conceded it’s too early to talk about turning the tide of infections. 

Putin also announced that, depending on circumstances, some regions will be allowed to implement tighter restrictions with respect to countering the spread of the virus.

“More stringent restrictions must be observed somewhere, while somewhere else, where there is a high level of preparedness, local, point solutions will be enough now,” the president said, calling for the need to take into account specific regional features.

The Russian regions will receive additional powers to decide which methods to choose to fight the novel coronavirus, Putin said.

“The constituent regions and heads of the regions will get additional authorities by my orders. Before the end of this week, they are to define the concrete set of preventive measures optimal for their territories from the point of view of ensuring the health and safety of the people, as well as stability of the economy and key infrastructure,” Putin said.

There are reports that Russian economists quoted in the Russian media have suggested that the month-long holiday may lead to billions of dollars in losses and numerous company failures, with the country’s largest retail association predicting millions of job losses in that sector along with major debt defaults from shopping centers across Russia.

One final note: The Kremlin has officially denied that talks have occurred between Russia and Saudi Arabia on oil, which undermines a claim Trump made via a tweet yesterday that a deal – which would help the U.S. shale industry by letting up on the recent nosedive in oil prices – was imminent between the two countries. According to the Moscow Times, which quoted the Russian Interfax news agency:

“No, there was no conversation,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Interfax news agency, adding that “so far” there were no plans for such talks, after Trump said the Saudi crown prince had spoken to Putin and he expected them to agree on a cut in oil production.

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