Russia's Putin says he has a cold, assures officials it is not Covid-19

Russian President Vladimir Putin was heard repeatedly coughing at a televised meeting with officials. PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (BLOOMBERG) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said he has a cold and he isn't suffering from Covid-19, after he was heard repeatedly coughing at a televised meeting with officials.

"Don't worry, everything's fine," Mr Putin told a video conference Monday (Oct 11) with his Security Council, also shown on state television. "They do tests practically on a daily basis not only for Covid-19 but for all other infections and everything is ok."

That broadcast followed an earlier one Mr Putin held with officials to discuss agriculture, in which he was seen and heard coughing on numerous occasions.

Ms Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of the Upper House of Parliament, interrupted Mr Putin at the Security Council after that event to ask about his health.

"Everyone got worried," she said.

"I was out in the cool air and moving around actively but nothing terrible is happening," Mr Putin told the Security Council officials. "I know you're all vaccinated and don't forget to get revaccinated."

The Russian president, who last week celebrated his 69th birthday, went into self-isolation last month when he disclosed that dozens of his staff had been affected by a Covid-19 outbreak.

He showed no public sign of illness himself and emerged after two weeks to hold an in-person meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sept 29.

Since then, however, he's continued to hold most of his public meetings by video conference.

Nationally, Russia is suffering another surge in Covid-19 cases, with daily reported deaths hitting record highs, as officials blame low vaccination rates for the rise in infections.

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