Putin Self-Isolates After Shaking Hands With Infected Doctor At Moscow Hospital

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.

67-year-old Putin was also seen talking to Protsenko without any protective gear last week. Image source: TASS

"We are taking all precautionary measures," Peskov said further. Joining a list of other leaders who have had to enter self-quarantine after potential exposure, most notably Justin Trudeau, and also Boris Johnson - who was actually confirmed for the virus - Putin will now work exclusively from his presidential residence in Novo-Ogaryovo outside Moscow.

The Russian presidency's office also now says he'll no longer shake hands. "Of course everyone is now social distancing," Peskov said.

"All of those who were with the president at Kommunarka are being tested daily for the coronavirus," Peskov added, while attempting to assure the public that "everything is fine" with Putin.

Denis Protsenko was the very doctor who gave Putin a tour of the COVID-19 treatment center in the Kommunarka area of Moscow last Tuesday in what we described at the time as clearly a "high risk" photo op.

Currently some two-thirds of Russia's entire population of just under 150 million is under strict 'stay at home' orders after last week Putin announced a paid 'work holiday' for at least a week.

This includes some 53 regions of the country under lockdown, which includes the following mandates, according to TASS:

All residents of these regions are ordered to stay home and can go out only to call at a nearby drug store or supermarket, walk the pet, as well as dispose garbage and travel to work if they cannot work from home on official days off declared nationwide between March 28 and April 5.

As of Tuesday Russia has 2,777 official confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 24 deaths, with most infections concentrated in Moscow.