Putin has a ‘disinfection tunnel’ to protect him from the coronavirus

A demonstration of the disinfection tunnel at President Putin’s residence

RIA Novosti

Russian President Vladimir Putin now has a “disinfection tunnel” installed at his country residence to protect him from contracting the coronavirus, Russian news agency Ria Novosti reported Tuesday.

The special tunnel has been installed at the president’s residence in Novo-Ogaryovo, according to the news agency, that published a video showing how the tunnel works. Anyone entering the residence has to pass through the chamber that uses a fine mist of disinfectant solution that covers clothing and exposed areas of the body.

Putin’s suburban residence is located just outside Moscow and is reportedly preferred by the president as a remote working office in order to avoid traffic congestion in the capital.

He self-isolated at the residence in April when officials he had close contact with were diagnosed with Covid-19, including the head of the country’s main coronavirus hospital, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, and shortly afterwards, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov.  In April, Peskov said that anyone meeting the president had to take a Covid-19 test.

Russia has the third-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world, with 544,725 reported cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. It has a low amount of deaths, however, with 7,274 deaths registered due to the virus.

Despite the rate of new daily cases remaining high, lockdown restrictions implemented in March have been lifted quickly in Moscow ahead of key political eventsMoscow’s Victory Day Parade — Russia’s annual show of military hardware — on June 24, and a historic referendum on constitutional changes on July 1 that would allow President Vladimir Putin to run for further terms in office.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told CNBC last week that the lifting of restrictions was appropriate given the decline in the rate of new infections.

Peskov said the number of infections was “decreasing day by day, although quite slowly,” adding that there was no longer the danger that Russia’s health-care system could be overwhelmed.

“Now we can be sure that we have a significant number of beds, a significant number of ventilators, and all the needed protective materials, so we’re ready for any developments in terms of the pandemic,” he said.