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'not one or two'

Putin reveals the Kremlin is awash in COVID-19 cases

Russian President Vladimir Putin is quarantining due to COVID-19 cases in his orbit — and not just a few of them. 

The Kremlin confirmed earlier this week that Putin was in isolation because there had been cases of COVID-19 in his entourage, and he revealed Thursday that dozens of people have tested positive, Politico reports

"In my closest circle, as you know, there are cases of illness of coronavirus," Putin 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 explained that he wouldn't be able to attend the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Collective Security Treaty Organization in person as a result, per Politico. Earlier this week, the Kremlin said that "several people" in Putin's entourage had tested positive for COVID-19 and that he "must take a responsible position and not endanger the health of his colleagues" by quarantining, CNN reported

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, however, said that the Russian president tested negative for COVID-19 and is "absolutely healthy." At the time, Putin also said he hoped this would show the Russian Sputnik V vaccine's "high parameters for protection against COVID-19 in real life." Before going into quarantine, CNN notes, Putin met in person with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, though the Kremlin spokesman insisted that "nobody's health was endangered."