Putin’s residence and the Kremlin have walk-through disinfectant tunnels to guard against coronavirus

Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson has confirmed that special disinfectant tunnels have been installed in the Kremlin and at the Russian President’s residence outside Moscow due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The installation of the walk-through facility at Putin’s residence in Novo-Ogaryovo was first reported by state news agency RIA-Novosti on Tuesday.

“Such disinfectant equipment is installed in the Kremlin too, there are even two tunnels there, and in Novo-Ogaryovo, which you know is the main work base for the President, he hold[s] a lot of events there and goes back and forth to the Kremlin,” Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters in a conference call on Wednesday.

“This is [in] connection with the epidemiological situation, they were installed at the peak of the epidemic,” he added.

“You know that there are still some restrictions in place, even though largely they have been lifted. But still masks and gloves remain, and of course when it comes to the head of state additional safety measures are justified and understandable.”

Russia has been one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic — ranking behind only the United States and Brazil in Covid-19 case numbers. It has reported more than 550,000 infections and 7,400 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.

Putin’s opponents have previously criticized what they view as the Russian President’s premature declarations of success in battling the virus.

Mizotty, the company which makes the tunnels, told CNN that it began producing the equipment just weeks ago.

“We’ve started making these tunnels three weeks ago, we launched the production because obviously amid the coronavirus pandemic many companies faced closures,” deputy head of the Mizotty group Natalya Spirina said.

“We were quarantined for a week and remotely decided that we need to come up with new equipment would fit all the criteria in terms of fighting coronavirus and created this rig for sanitizers.”

The tunnels are designed to disinfect everyone passing through it with a “fine water mist,” according to the RIA report.

Mizotty said the facilities use an antiseptic substance called Anolit which is approved by the Russian government’s consumer rights ministry.

The company has installed the facilities at some hospitals in the Russian region of Penza and has also secured some government contracts. Mizotty said it was thinking of expanding its factory.

Putin has largely been working from his Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow via videoconference during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In April, Peskov said that everyone meeting with the Russian president would be tested for coronavirus and that all such appointments would be held with social distancing in place.

Peskov himself was hospitalized with Covid-19 in May. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Minister of Culture Olga Lyubimova and Minister of Housing Vladimir Yakushev have all previously tested positive for the virus.

Observers have also questioned whether Russia is under-reporting mortality figures from the deadly disease.

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