Russian hospital chief who met Putin last week has coronavirus

Jake Rudnitsky

Denis Protsenko, the doctor who last week gave Russian President Vladimir Putin a tour of Moscow’s main hospital devoted to coronavirus patients, said he has been diagnosed with the illness but is feeling good.

“I have tested positive,” Protsenko, director of Hospital No. 40, wrote in Facebook. “But I feel fine.”

Putin, who wasn’t wearing any protective gear when he met and shook hands with Protsenko March 24, is regularly tested and is fine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday. Protsenko last week warned the president that Russia should brace for the disease spreading like it has in Italy.

“I’ve isolated myself in my office, where everything is in place for remote work, management and telemedicine consultations,” Protsenko wrote. “I think the immunity that I’ve built up over this month is doing its work….stay tuned.”

Protsenko, 44, has been the face of Moscow’s battle with coronavirus for many Russians thanks to his regular posts on social media calling attention to the domestic spread of the pandemic. In the week since his meeting with Putin, Moscow has gone on lockdown, with people told to remain at home.

Russia on Tuesday reported a 27% increase in coronavirus infections overnight, bringing the total to 2,337.