No self-isolation for Putin after Moscow orders people over 60 to stay home

The Moscow mayor has ordered people over 65 years old and those with chronic illnesses to self-isolate for more than two weeks

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Vladimir Putin went to the Russia-occupied Crimean peninsula last week despite general guidelines urging Russians to stop traveling
Vladimir Putin went to the Russia-occupied Crimean peninsula last week despite general guidelines urging Russians to stop traveling Credit: Pool via Reuters/Alexander Nemenov

Vladimir Putin, the 67-year-old Russian president, will keep to his usual work schedule despite Moscow authorities ordering people aged over 65 to self-isolate.

In the strictest measure against the spread of coronavirus seen so far in Russia, Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin on Monday ordered people over 65 years old and those with chronic diseases to self-isolate at least until 14 April.

The mayor of the Russian capital said in a televised address that he is asking the elderly to comply with the order because the city cares for them.

Mr Putin, however, is unlikely to heed the call.

His spokesman Dmitry Peskov said later on Monday that the Russian leader, who turned 67 last October, would carry on as usual, using a loophole in the decree that makes an exception for executives in vital jobs including government agencies.

“A job is a job, especially if that job is being president, which, of course, is not subject to the criteria laid out in restrictions and recommendations,” he told Russian news agencies, adding that Mr Putin spends most of his time working at his residence.

He added, however, that Mr Putin no longer travels or takes part in large gatherings.

Mr Peskov also said he was not sure that everyone in the Kremlin administration “would be able to” comply with the order for the elderly to stay at home.

President Putin went to the Russia-annexed Crimea last week and has been holding meetings with a large number of people. The Kremlin said that everyone who takes part in meetings with the president is asked to test for coronavirus.

Moscow, where more than half of Russia’s 438 coronavirus cases were recorded, has closed down theatres, cinemas and gyms but has stopped short of announcing a complete lockdown.

The relatively low number of cases for the nation of 145 million is mostly explained by narrow testing as well as early restrictions that the government took in February by shutting down the border with China and barring Chinese nationals from the country.