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Moscow, Russia – President Vladimir Putin will self-isolate after coronavirus cases are discovered in his inner circle, the Kremlin said Tuesday as Russia struggles with persistently high rates of COVID infection.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Putin was “perfectly healthy” and had taken a coronavirus test without giving the result.

Putin was due to travel to a regional summit in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, at the end of this week , however, said in a call with President Emomali Rakhmon that he cannot attend in person.

“Putin said that in connection with identified coronavirus cases in his circle he will adhere to a self-isolation regime for a period of time,” said the Kremlin in a statement with.

Russian authorities have taken exceptional measures to protect Putin, who has been vaccinated with Russia’s native Sputnik-V-Jab, since the pandemic began.

Foreign leaders, journalists and officials have had to face each other isolate everyone themselves before they could get in touch with the longtime Russian leader.

Putin met on Monday with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and with Russ ical athletes returning from the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Russia is one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic – with the fifth highest number of registered cases according to an AFP record – and despite the simple Access to vaccines Difficulties containing infections.

As of Tuesday, the country had recorded 7,176,085 cases and 194,249 deaths, the highest death toll in Europe.

Infections have been in the last few days after rising in August but health officials still reported 17,837 new cases and 781 new deaths on Tuesday.

Authorities are grappling with a vaccine-skeptical population, with independent polls showing the majority of Russians do not plan to get vaccinated.

As of Tuesday, about 39.9 million of the 146 million Russian people were complete, according to the Gogov website, which aggregates COVID data from the regions vaccinated.

Russia has several home-grown vaccines that are freely available to the public, but does not sell any West-made vaccines.

Moscow, the epicenter of the Russian outbreak, and a variety of regions have introduced mandatory vaccination measures to speed up the vaccination campaign, and Putin has repeatedly urged the Russians to get vaccinated.

The Kremlin initially set a goal of fully vaccinating 60 percent of the Russian population by September, but later dropped that goal although free vaccinations have been available since the beginning of December.

The Russian authorities have been accused of downplaying the effects of the pandemic and have waived restrictive new measures after an initial strict lockdown in 2020.

The country continued his hopes of containing the pandemic turned instead to his four home-grown vaccines – Sputnik V, EpiVacCo rona, CoviVac and the single dose of Sputnik Light.