coronavirus testing for all — miraculously convened at a time of national shortage.
Those efforts might now be in vain, however, after it was revealed that a head doctor who received the Russian president at his hospital last week has tested positive for Covid-19.
Television crews captured close and prolonged communication between Denis Protsenko and Mr Putin during the visit to Moscow’s main coronavirus hospital on Monday. At one point they shook hands. Of the Russian president’s entire entourage only Dmitry Peskov, his press secretary, was wearing a mask.
It is not immediately apparent if Mr Protsenko was carrying the virus at the time of the president’s visit. The doctor was almost certainly tested at the time, but tests have a window period, and occasionally produce false negative results. Symptoms of coronavirus infection take on average 5.1 days to appear.
As the communicative head of Moscow’s main coronavirus facility, Mr Protsenko has become somewhat of a celebrity in the Russian media recently. Writing on Facebook, he said he was experiencing a mild version of the disease and would be self-isolating in his office. “I think that the immunity I’ve built up over the last month will bear me well,” he said.
Overnight, Russia recorded a record rise in the number of coronavirus cases — up 500 to 2,337 — suggesting the country may now be entering a new phase of the epidemic.