Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has announced that he had contracted the coronavirus and requested that his first deputy be appointed as acting prime minister
Mishustin made the announcement during an online conference with President Vladimir Putin.
He said that he would remain in self-isolation for the time being, but added that his cabinet would continue to operate and that he would stay in touch.
“In light of this situation, I would like to address all Russian citizens to take the threat of the coronavirus infection and its spread seriously.
“We have the May celebrations ahead of us and I urge all of you to stay home [during them] and follow all safety rules to prevent the spreading of the disease,” Mishustin said.
The PM also suggested that his first deputy, Andrey Belousov, be appointed as acting prime minister until he gets well and is able to fully return to work.
Putin has accepted Belousov’s candidacy and wished Mishustin to get well as soon as possible.
“What happens to you right now can happen to any of us, I have always said that. […] You, your cabinet, presidential administration are in the zone of high risk [of infection],” Putin told the prime minister.
The president also announced that all crucial decisions on supporting the Russian economy during the pandemic will be cleared with Mishustin before being signed.
He also thanked the prime minister for all the work he and his cabinet have done so far and expressed hope that he will be able to continue to take an active part in the cabinet’s activities, despite his illness.