(CMR) Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin says he has tested positive for the new coronavirus and has told President Vladimir Putin he will self-isolate and step back from his official duties.
Speaking during a televised meeting, Mishustin recommended to Putin that First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov should become the acting Prime Minister for the duration of his absence, a proposal that Putin supported.
According to the Moscow Times, 54-year-old Mishustin has played a leading role in Russia's response to the Covid-19 pandemic. He was appointed Prime Minister in January. Following the news, Putin warned during a televised debate that what has happened to his Prime Minister could happen to anyone.
Mishustin was named prime minister in January. During a video call, Putin voiced hope that Mishustin would continue taking part in drafting policies to shore up the Russian economy, which has been hurt by the virus pandemic. In Russia, the prime minister oversees the economy and answers to the president.
It was not immediately clear when Putin last met with Mishustin in person. The Russian president has minimized meetings and switched to holding video conferences with officials during the pandemic.
Today they confirmed 7,099 new cases and Russia has 106,498 cases of coronavirus infections reported thus far with some 1,073 deaths. President Vladimir Putin has extended the national “non-working” month through May 11.