Russian President Vladimir Putin is protected from the coronavirus by special disinfection tunnels that anyone visiting his residence outside Moscow or meeting him in the Kremlin must pass through, according to his spokesman.
Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that one such special tunnel, manufactured by a Russian company based in the town of Penza, had been installed at Putin’s official Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow and two more in the Kremlin.
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He said they were installed at the height of the pandemic in Russia, which authorities say is now on the wane, particularly in Moscow where lockdown restrictions are being lifted.
A few restrictions remained in place in the Kremlin, said Peskov, as precautions regarding Putin’s health continued to be justified.
Demonstration footage of the tunnel, published by the state-controlled RIA news agency on Tuesday night, showed masked people passing through it being sprayed with disinfectant from above and from the side.
RIA described the disinfectant as a fine mist that covered people’s clothes and any exposed upper body flesh.
Putin has spent much of the pandemic running the world’s largest country from his residence rather than the Kremlin, chairing video-conference meetings from a room that his critics dubbed a bunker.
Peskov said in April that anyone meeting Putin in person underwent testing for the coronavirus. A month later, Peskov said he had himself been infected.
Russia has recorded more than half a million infections, the third-highest number of cases in the world after Brazil and the United States, something it attributes to an enormous testing programme.
Russia has registered 7,478 deaths to date – a relatively low rate. Critics are dubious about the accuracy of its mortality figures.