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Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, becoming the first high-ranking politician in the country to become infected by the virus.
Russian television on Thursday aired a video call between Mishustin and Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the call, Mishustin told Putin about the diagnosis, and encouraged Russians to take the threat of COVID-19 seriously. "What's happening to you can happen to anyone, and I've always been saying this," Putin told Mishustin. "You are a very active person. I would like to thank you for the work that has been done so far."
Mishustin, who became prime minister in January, told Putin he would be going into self-isolation, and Putin responded by telling him to call him when he arrives at the hospital. Andrei Belousov, the first deputy prime minister, will step in while Mishustin is recovering.
There are now more than 100,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Russia, with the death toll at 1,073. With the weather warming up, the government is worried about people going out, and extra police units will patrol Moscow to enforce the lockdown, BBC News reports. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said many residents don't realize the severity of the situation. "If we see things are getting better, then of course we will reduce the restrictions," he said. "But until that happens, you need to be courageous and patient. It's very important for you and your health."
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