Putin wears hazmat suit during hospital visit; Moscow mayor warns of undercounted cases

Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump blends upbeat virus info and high US death forecast Moscow placed under strict lockdown to stem coronavirus spread Trump says he'll speak with Putin on Monday MORE wore a bright yellow full-body hazmat suit and respirator during a hospital visit in Moscow, and the mayor — a close ally of the administration — told him the country’s cases are likely grossly undercounted.

“A serious situation is unfolding,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin told Putin at a meeting, according to Reuters.

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So far Russia has less than 700 confirmed cases of COVID-19 — one of the lowest tallies worldwide — and thousands less than countries of its size. 

Sobyanin said repatriated Muscovites who had visited countries hit hardest by the virus, such as China, quarantined in their country homes out of fear that they would infect others.

Putin has said he would enact a wider effort to repatriate Russians who are living abroad during the pandemic.

“In reality, there are significantly more sick people,” Sobyanin told Putin.

On Tuesday the Russian government closed nightclubs, cinemas and children’s entertainment centers to slow the spread of the virus.

According to the RIA news agency, the Russian parliament is also ramping up measures to enforce self-isolation practices. Two lawmakers proposed legislation that would make disregarding quarantine measures a punishable crime. 

The offense would result in up to seven years in jail per every two people killed as a result of exposure, or up to three years for causing mass infection.