Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishutin tests positive for coronavirus
Mikhail Mishustin told President Vladimir Putin that he had been diagnosed with the new coronavirus and was temporarily stepping down to recover
Moscow: Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin told President Vladimir Putin on Thursday that he had been diagnosed with the new coronavirus and was temporarily stepping down to recover.
Mishustin, 54, suggested that First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov serve as acting prime minister in his absence.
Putin, who was listening on a televised video conference, sighed when he heard the news, wished Mishustin a speedy recovery and said he agreed with the proposed replacement.
Mishustin, who has been one of the main coordinators of Russia's response to the new coronavirus, is the first high-ranking Russian official to publicly say they have the virus. He broke the news hours after the number of confirmed cases of the virus in Russia surged past the 100,000 mark.
"I have found out that the coronavirus tests I had done returned with a positive result," said Mishustin, who was appointed by Putin in January. "I need to self-isolate and follow doctors' instructions. This is necessary for the safety of my colleagues."
Mishustin said he would remain in contact with members of the government and Putin by phone and video conference despite his condition.
"What is happening to you can happen to anyone," Putin replied matter-of-factly. "When you get to the hospital, call me. I'll be waiting for your call."
The broadcast of the meeting, which showed the men on split screens, lasted just under four minutes.
Mishustin will spend his self-isolation period at a hospital under the supervision of doctors, his spokesman Boris Belyakov said, without disclosing the exact location where the prime minister would be treated.
Belyakov added that all those who had been in contact with Mishustin would go into self-isolation and be tested for the virus.
Meanwhile, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday hoped that Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin recovered soon from the novel coronavirus.
"My best wishes to Russian PM Mishustin for early recovery and good health," PM Modi tweeted in Russian and English. "We stand with our close friend Russia in efforts to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic."
With agency inputs