Friday, 12 Aug 2022

Putin sparks health fears as he coughs through meeting – but denies having Covid

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has insisted he doesn't have Covid as he coughed through a public meeting broadcast live on state TV.

President Putin, 69, worried agriculture leaders who met with him on Monday with his persistent sputtering, Bloomberg reported.

Ex-KGB boss Putin held an unscheduled meeting with national security leaders after the concerning display to clarify that he was feeling okay.

He reassured security council members he was tested frequently for all sorts of illnesses including Covid.

Putin said: "Don’t worry, everything’s fine.

"They do tests practically on a daily basis not only for Covid-19 but for all other infections and everything is ok."

House speaker Valentina Matviyenko interrupted the United Russia leader to say: "Everyone got worried."

But he swiftly explained: "I was out in the cool air and moving around actively but nothing terrible is happening.

"I know you’re all vaccinated and don’t forget to get revaccinated."

Putin self-isolated last month after dozens of members of his personal staff tested positive for Covid.

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The Kremlin boss first became president of Russia in 1999, serving since then – with a short gap between 2008 and 2012, when he was prime minister.

Every election won by Putin has been hit with accusations of vote-rigging and voter intimidation.

In 2020, he effectively abolished term limits and paved the way to serve as Russia's dictator for the rest of his life.

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Russia is going through record-high infections of Covid, with vaccination rates concerningly low.

Total deaths from the virus in Russia hit 400,000 over the summer, with more than a quarter of the toll counted in July and August alone.

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