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Putin says dozens in his inner circle have tested positive for COVID-19

Putin says dozens in his inner circle have tested positive for COVID-19
Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier this week that he would self-isolate after coming into contact with an aide who tested positive.  File Photo by Maxim Shipenkov/EPA-EFE

Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Two days after he said he would self-isolate after possible exposure to COVID-19, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that dozens of people in his inner circle have tested positive.

The Kremlin leader said in a video posted online that the coronavirus has infected a number of people in his inner circle.

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"In my closest circle, as you know, there are cases of illness of coronavirus," he said. "It's not one or two, it's several tens of people. And now I have to self-isolate for a few days."

Putin had said on Tuesday that he would self-isolate after he came into contact with an aide who tested positive.

Putin said in the video that, due to the exposure, he won't physically chair a security summit in Tajikistan on Friday.

The Russian leader did not specify who in his orbit has tested positive or whether they have been vaccinated. Putin has been inoculated with the Russian-made Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.

Health officials said Russia added almost 20,000 new coronavirus cases and 800 additional deaths on Thursday. The country has seen more than 7 million cases and almost 200,000 deaths since the pandemic began.

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