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Coronavirus

Special Disinfection Tunnels Installed for Putin

MOSCOW — A special disinfection tunnel has been installed in the residence of Russian President Vladimir Putin outside Moscow and two more in the Kremlin, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Reports about the tunnel spraying anyone passing through it with disinfectants appeared in Russian state media on Tuesday night. RIA Novosti news agency reported that the tunnel was manufactured by a Russian company based in Penza, some 550 kilometers (340 miles) southeast of Moscow.

The tunnels have been installed when the outbreak “was in full swing,” Peskov said. “When it comes to the head of the state, additional precautionary measures are justified.”

Last month, Putin said that Russia had passed the peak of the outbreak and urged the government to gradually start easing lockdown restrictions, in place since late March.

On Wednesday, Russian health officials reported 7,843 new coronavirus cases — the lowest daily number since late April. The country’s caseload – currently at 553,301 – remains the third largest in the world.

Kremlin critics question the official statistics and link reopening efforts to the Russian government’s desire to boost voter turnout in an upcoming constitutional referendum that would allow Putin to rule until 2036. The plebiscite is scheduled for July 1.

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