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A second minister in the Russian government has tested positive for COVID-19 and is being treated in hospital.

Construction Minister Vladimir Yakushev said May 1 he has been hospitalized in Moscow and is receiving “treatment under the supervision of doctors,” according to TASS, quoting the ministry’s press office.

One of his deputies at the Construction and Housing Ministry, Dmitry Volkov, also tested positive for the coronavirus, the report said.

Deputy Minister Nikita Stasishin has been appointed acting minister of construction in Yakushev’s absence, TASS reported.

The announcement that Yakushev being treated in hospital for COVID-19 comes a day after Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said he was entering self-isolation after testing positive. A spokesman said he would be kept under observation at a medical facility but did not give its name.

First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov is serving as acting prime minister while the 54-year-old Mishustin, who was named prime minister in January, recuperates.

The double blow to Russia’s cabinet comes as the country recorded a steady rise in cases despite lockdown measures in place since late March.

Russia reported 7,933 new cases of the coronavirus on May 1 during the previous 24 hours — a record daily increase that has brought the country’s acknowledged nationwide tally to 114,431 cases, although there are questions about the accuracy of state figures.

Critics point to official figures on cases of pneumonia, which is often caused by the coronavirus, as evidence that Russia’s real number of COVID-19-related deaths is higher.

The daily toll is nearly 900 cases higher than the previous record of 7,099 new infections reported by Russia a day earlier.

Officials have said Russia has not reached the peak of the outbreak, which has killed more than 1,100 people in the country.

President Vladimir Putin and many other senior Russian officials have been working remotely in recent weeks in an effort to shield themselves from the pandemic.

With reporting by AFP, TASS, and Reuters


[1] Why Is Russia's Coronavirus Death Toll So Low? ➤