VLADIMIR Putin is understood the be self-isolating as he works remotely and cuts down social contact following a coronavirus scare.
Russia's strongman leader shook hands with a doctor last week while visiting a hospital in Moscow, only for the medic to later be confirmed to have coronavirus.
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Putin's office confirmed he was taking precautions in the week, but today his spokesman said the president is likely to remain avoiding personal contact and working from home for at least the next seven days.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told state-run TV that Putin is cutting down physical contact after the handshake.
He said: "A week has passed; I dare to suggest that Putin will work remotely for another week, or even longer.
"I think that the case with the chief Kommunarka physician falling ill has demonstrated that, despite all precautions, the best and only effective measure is to reduce physical contacts, and that is exactly what the president did."
Mr Peskov was speaking on the "Moscow. Kremlin. Putin" weekly show on television channel Rossiya-1.
It comes as Russia faces a coronavirus outbreak, as cases rose by 658 yesterday to over 5,000 – with Moscow being the epicentre.
At least 45 people have been killed by the virus in the country, which has now infected more than 1.2million people worldwide.
Russia ordered a nationwide lockdown for the month of April last week following Putin's own coronavirus scare.
Kremlin officials have insisted however "everything is fine" and there was no reason to worry about the 67-year-old Putin's health.
Putin is understood to be staying at his Novo-Ogaryovo residence near Moscow.
Putin made a highly public visit to the Kommunarka hospital on March 24 – 12 days ago – in which he met Dr Denis Protsenko.
The Russian leader inspected the hospital in a brightly coloured hazmat suit, but spoke to the medic without any protective gear.
He also was pictured shaking hands with him without gloves.
Days later Dr Potsenko tested positive for the coronavirus, but insisted he felt quite well.
He said he had self-isolated in his office were he would continue to work.
Doctors have urged people to self isolate if they come into contact with someone who has coronavirus.
It is designed to help control the spread of the disease as symptoms can sometimes take two weeks to appear – yet the virus can still be passed on.
Conspiracy theories emerged last week that all was not well with Putin after state-TV broadcast old footage of him attending meetings – with some saying he had "disappeared".
Ilya Shepelin, a journalist with independent news channel TV Rain, speculated that Putin may be in self-isolation.
Chief hospital nurse Lyudmila Larionova said she was "shaken" by Putin’s decision to enter the coronavirus wing which was treating 350 victims.
The Russian president and the country’s elite have been accused of believing themselves to be immune from the virus.
Putin’s spokesman Mr Peskov defended his visit to the hospital last week.
He said: "He always prefers to see with his own eyes how things are going on the frontline.
"Putin would not be Putin if he did not decide to go there."
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Russian lawmakers voted to give the government powers to declare a national emergency over the coronavirus.
The measures include penalties for violations of lockdown rules including, in extreme cases, jail terms of up to seven years.
It comes as Russia sent a military plane carrying 60 tons of coronavirus aid to the US on Wednesday.
Mr Peskov said: "“Trump gratefully accepted this humanitarian aid."
Half the world is now on lockdown due to the coronavirus, which has infected all be 18 countries.
The global death toll has surpassed 65,000 and fears loom it could wipe $4.1trillion off the global economy.
Britain yesterday suffered its deadliest day, and today at 8pm The Queen will address the nation over the crisis.
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