Germany's health system could face strains similar to those in Italy if the coronavirus outbreak in the country worsens, the head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the federal agency responsible for disease control, told a newspaper. Lothar Wieler's comments came as RKI data on Sunday showed the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany had risen to 52,547 and 389 people had died of the disease there. "We cannot rule out that we will have more patients than ventilators in this country ... Of course, we must expect that the capacities will not be sufficient," Wieler told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
A retired Venezuelan general who was charged by the United States with "narco-terrorism" along with President Nicolas Maduro and other officials has surrendered in Colombia to US authorities, prosecutors said Saturday. "The national Attorney General learned that Mr Cliver Alcala surrendered to US authorities," the Colombian prosecutor said in a statement, adding there was no arrest warrant when he gave himself up. Alcala turned himself in on Friday to the Colombians, who in turn handed him over to US authorities, the El Tiempo de Bogota newspaper said.
The coronavirus death toll shot past 20,000 in Europe on Saturday, with Italy and Spain each reporting more than 800 dead in one day, as US President Donald Trump pulled back on putting the hard-hit New York region under quarantine. Up to one-third of the world's population is under lockdown as the virus leaves its devastating imprint on nearly every aspect of society: wiping out millions of jobs, straining health care services and weighing heavily on national treasuries for years to come. Globally, the death toll has surged past 30,000 and officials in some countries say the worst still lies ahead.
The growing number of imported coronavirus cases in China risked fanning a second wave of infections at a time when "domestic transmission has basically been stopped", a spokesman for the National Health Commission said on Sunday. "China already has an accumulated total of 693 cases entering from overseas, which means the possibility of a new round of infections remains relatively big," Mi Feng, the spokesman, said. In the last seven days, China has reported 313 imported cases of coronavirus but only 6 confirmed cases of domestic transmission, the commission's data showed.
Saudi forces intercepted a missile over Riyadh late Saturday, state media said, after at least three explosions were heard in the curfew-locked capital amid efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but Yemen's Iran-aligned Huthi rebels have previously targeted Riyadh and other Saudi cities with missiles, rockets and drones. It was the first major assault on Saudi Arabia since the Huthis offered last September to halt attacks on the kingdom after devastating twin strikes on Saudi oil installations.
More than 100 people have died from the novel coronavirus in Turkey, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced Saturday, as 1,704 new cases were recorded. Koca shared the latest figures on Twitter, which showed 16 more people had died in the last 24 hours, pushing the total death toll to 108. With the new cases of COVID-19, Turkey has officially recorded 7,402 people with the virus.
* Oklahoman served in House of Representatives and Senate * Rightwing Republican advocated range of conservative causes * Resigned senate in 2014 after cancer diagnosisThe former Republican senator Tom Coburn has died at 72, according to a newspaper in his native Oklahoma.The Oklahoman published a statement from the senator’s family and said he died after “a long fight with prostate cancer”. Coburn, the paper said, "served in the Senate from 2005 to 2015 and in the US House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001. After leaving the Senate, he pushed for a constitutional convention and advocated for a range of conservative fiscal causes.”Mike Pence, the vice-president, wrote on Twitter: “Tom Coburn was a great conservative voice in the United States Congress and American physician whose legacy will live on. Karen and I send our deepest sympathies and prayers to his family during this tough time.”Coburn was a doctor who resigned his Senate seat following his cancer diagnosis.“This decision isn’t about my health, my prognosis or even my hopes and desires,” he said then. “As a citizen, I am now convinced that I can best serve my own children and grandchildren by shifting my focus elsewhere.”One such effort was in support of rightwing efforts to call a Constitutional Convention, in an attempt to dramatically restrict the powers of the US federal government.“We’re in a battle for the future of our country,” Coburn told the annual convention of the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec) in New Orleans in August 2018. “We’re either going to become a socialist, Marxist country like western Europe, or we’re going to be free. As far as me and my family and my guns, I’m going to be free.”
Police fired tear gas at a crowd of Kenyan ferry commuters as the country’s first day of a coronavirus curfew slid into chaos. Virus prevention measures have taken a violent turn in parts of Africa as countries impose lockdowns and curfews or seal off major cities. Cases across Africa were set to climb above 4,000 late Saturday.
Authorities sent a fleet of buses to the outskirts of India's capital on Saturday to meet an exodus of migrant workers desperately trying to reach their home villages during the world's largest coronavirus lockdown. Thousands of people, mostly young male day laborers but also families, fled their New Delhi homes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown that began on Wednesday and effectively put millions of Indians who live off daily earnings out of work. Modi said the extreme measure was needed to halt the spread of the coronavirus in India, which has confirmed 775 cases and 19 deaths, and where millions live in cramped conditions without regular access to clean water.
A QAnon conspiracy theorist, fascinated with the crackpot legal theories of the anti-government “sovereign citizen” movement, allegedly kidnapped her two daughters last week. It is just the latest example of the growing and increasingly dangerous overlap between right-wing conspiracy theories and real-life violent crime.QAnon believers have been charged in the past with two murders, a terrorist incident near the Hoover Dam, and an incidence of church vandalism, all of which appear to have been motivated by their bizarre beliefs. Kentucky resident Neely Blanchard, whose two daughters are legally in their grandmother’s sole custody, allegedly took the children from their grandmother’s house in Logan County, Ky., on March 20, according to police. An amber alert sent out after the alleged abduction warned that Blanchard was armed with a handgun. Blanchard was eventually arrested early Thursday morning, and her two daughters were recovered unharmed. Blanchard now faces two kidnapping charges and two charges of custodial interference, according to Logan County Sheriff Stephen Stratton, who said that law enforcement officials traced her cellphone location to the home of a group of anti-government extremists known as sovereign citizens. What Is QAnon? The Craziest Theory of the Trump Era, ExplainedSovereign citizens believe in an elaborate set of legal theories that holds that American citizens can unilaterally use certain code phrases to proclaim that the United States government has no jurisdiction over them — and thus get out of hot water with the justice system. While these ideas have no actual force in law, a series of Facebook groups and YouTube personalities have promoted sovereign citizen theories to parents desperate to regain custody of their children, drawing them into the fringe movement. The FBI considers sovereign citizens a potential source of domestic terrorism. A 2018 Southern Poverty Law Center report found that sovereign citizens had killed six law enforcement officials since 2005. Blanchard, for example, is the moderator of a Facebook group called “E-Clause”—a hotbed for sovereign citizen legal discussion—and drives a car with an “ECLAUSE” license plate. While Blanchard avoided police, other sovereign citizen E-Clause supporters posted encouragingly on her Facebook page. E-Clause founder Kirk Pendergrass did not respond to a request for comment. While on the run with her children, Blanchard posted a “non-consent” statement on Facebook that appeared to be a reference to sovereign citizen ideas. “I do not consent, I do not contract, I do not acquiesce nor trade, or allow access or enquiry to my nor my children’s Cestui que vie trust,” Blanchard’s strange statement read. “All deemed authorities are now notified & therefore have no legal jurisdiction against me, I am now not ‘deemed dead lost at sea.’”The letter appears to be a sovereign citizen tactic meant to help Blanchard regain custody of her children and avoid kidnapping charges. Copies of the letter were also delivered to baffled legal officials around Logan County, according to Stratton. “She is claiming that she’s a sovereign citizen, and she had actually sent letters to myself and the county attorney here stating those things,” Stratton told The Daily Beast. According to her Facebook posts, Blanchard is also an ardent promoter of the QAnon conspiracy theory, a pro-Trump fringe movement that believes Trump is engaged in a shadowy war with a global cabal of pedophiles in the Democratic Party who eat children. Blanchard’s Facebook account includes a number of QAnon-related memes, as well as pictures of her at Trump rallies wearing QAnon shirts referencing the QAnon idea that John F. Kennedy Jr. faked his death to help Trump defeat the deep state. QAnon is popular on the sovereign citizen child custody groups, in part because its believers claim that the government and child protective agencies are abusing the children they take from their parents’ custody—an idea referenced in Blanchard’s sovereign citizen letter. This isn’t the first time a child custody dispute has had the potential to turn violent over QAnon. In January, the FBI arrested QAnon believer Cynthia Abcug in Montana for allegedly plotting to kidnap her son, who was not in her custody, with the help of another armed QAnon supporter. Abcug allegedly discussed people “dying” in a “raid” on the home where her son lived. Abcug had been on the run before her arrest, and became a cause célèbre on the same sort of sovereign citizen child custody Facebook groups that Blanchard belonged to. The hunt for Blanchard and her children was complicated by the coronavirus pandemic, according to Stratton. When officers arrived at the sovereign citizen home where Blanchard was allegedly hiding out with her daughters, several people in the house claimed to have fevers, in an apparent attempt to scare off law enforcement.Teen-Texting QAnon Creep Quits Campaign“From what we’ve been reading, they’ve been using the coronavirus epidemic as a government conspiracy theory type thing,” Stratton said. Blanchard had previously tried to take another one of her children out of custody in 2013, after allegedly paying a friend 20 Xanax tablets to make a false abuse report. After Blanchard’s arrest in Kentucky, a woman claiming to be one of her friends posted on her Facebook account describing the arrest. The woman complained that the sheriff’s deputies ignored Blanchard’s sovereign citizen legal document and arrested her anyway—a predictable outcome, given that sovereign citizen arguments have no relation to actual laws.“We gave them the non-consent paper, showed it to them, it didn’t matter,” the woman said. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
The coronavirus continued its unrelenting spread across the United States with fatalities doubling in two days and authorities saying Saturday that an infant who tested positive had died. It pummeled big cities like New York, Detroit, New Orleans and Chicago, and made its way, too, into rural America as hotspots erupted in small Midwestern towns and Rocky Mountain ski havens. Worldwide infections surpassed the 660,000 mark with more than 30,000 deaths as new cases also stacked up quickly in Europe, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
From distrust of the Chinese Communist Party to secure borders and travel bans, President Trump's policies have become conventional wisdom amid the coronavirus crisis, says Hoover Institution senior fellow Victor Davis Hanson.
After months of denials, Russia is facing a new reality with respect to the rapid spread of the coronavirus in the country. Friday’s statistics officially acknowledge 1,036 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, including four deaths. The real numbers are undoubtedly much higher, as testing for the potentially deadly disease is only starting to pick up steam and some coronavirus deaths are being attributed to other causes.The highly contagious virus has already penetrated the walls of the Kremlin. Russian media reported that two Kremlin officials may have tested positive for the coronavirus. President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed he was aware of one of those cases, but claimed no knowledge of the second. State media outlet TASS speculated that one of the infected persons may have been a staffer responsible for awards, who traveled to Spain and later attended Putin’s presidential awards ceremony in occupied Crimea.Putin’s own spokesman couldn’t avoid the handshake of the disease, having been present at a star-studded birthday party attended by pop singer Lev Leshchenko, who recently tested positive for coronavirus. Peskov claimed that attendees at the fancy affair maintained proper distancing and “barely even shook hands” in light of the coronavirus advisories. However, video clips aired by the Russian state media TV show 60 Minutes demonstrated that celebrity partiers hugged, kissed and made silly gestures mocking the coronavirus precautions. Peskov denied interacting with the infected singer at the party.Russia Swore It Whipped the Virus, and Fox and CNN Bought ItRussia’s State Duma, the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia that consists of 450 members, said it will require all of its deputies to take coronavirus tests on Monday.Putin expressed near certainty that Russia could defeat the coronavirus “in two or three months time… maybe even earlier.” Taking an obvious jab at the United States, he added: “In some countries, it is said that the war with the virus (they call it a ‘war’) will be a very long one.”State media outlet RT hinted at the upcoming unrest in the United States: predicting that “a people deprived of their myths will not remain complacent forever.” RT opined: “With no brawls or ballgames to watch, and the fear of potential hunger gnawing at their bloated bellies and brains… Americans will now find it harder and harder to ignore the truth about their country and its deplorably corrupt media, financial, government, education and health care systems… The crisis is going to get worse before it gets better… America, on the other hand, will only get much worse, with no hope that it is ever going to get better.”Moscow’s Mayor Sergey Sobyanin expressed his hope that Russia’s fight against the coronavirus will be “more smooth and painless than in other countries.” He ordered Moscow’s restaurants and most stores to shut down for eight days and noted: “The restrictions introduced today are unprecedented in the modern history of Moscow and will create many inconveniences for the everyday life of every person,” but argued that “they are absolutely necessary in order to slow the spread of coronavirus infection and reduce the number of cases.”Meanwhile, during his Thursday telephone call with reporters, Peskov insisted that in Russia “there is de facto no epidemic” and the Kremlin hopes “to be able to avoid one.”Kremlin-controlled Russian state media are using the crisis to promote the view that democratic, progressive countries’ inability to curtail the pandemic demonstrated the superiority of Russia’s paternalistic government. Russian state media argued that the failure of the United States to prepare for coronavirus, even with a two-month advance notice, also demonstrates the loss of America’s global leadership.Appearing on The Evening with Vladimir Soloviev, Political scientist Sergey Mikheyev said that he was very happy to report: “Things are better in Russia than in Europe or America.” Mikheyev pointed out that the United States failed to extend a helping hand to Europe, after decades of transatlantic solidarity. He attributed the failure of the Trump administration to help America’s European allies to “stupidity, greed,” or the overt manifestation of total disregard.The host, Vladimir Soloviev, asserted that overcoming the pandemic “with minimal losses” would cement Putin’s success in securing the upcoming nationwide vote on the constitutional amendments designed to maintain the Russian leader’s grip on power. In anticipation of the inevitable suffering, Russian state media have been promoting outlandish conspiracy theories that blame the United States—and even their alleged “secret bio-laboratories in Ukraine”—for the creation of the coronavirus.Fiona Hill: Trump’s Coronavirus Talk Sounds a Lot Like Russia’sThe ongoing spread of the coronavirus in Russia will be accompanied by the inevitable escalation of anti-Western propaganda. When push comes to shove, the Kremlin frequently resorts to its traditional methods of assigning the blame to evil external forces (most frequently, the United States) and portraying Putin as Russia’s only hope and savior of the Motherland.The scope of the pandemic, suddenly extending to the Russian president’s inner circle, caused obvious nervousness on Russian state television. Appearing on Russia’s 60 Minutes, unsettled pundits traded insults and practically screamed at each other. In spite of the Kremlin’s initial claims of successfully controlling the spread of the virus, many are realizing that the worst is yet to come.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, says that Trump administration officials declined an offer of early Congressional funding assistance that he and other senators made during a meeting to discuss the coronavirus on Feb. 5.
Four passengers have died aboard a cruise ship now anchored off the coast of Panama and two people aboard the ship have tested positive for the coronavirus, the cruise line said Friday, with hundreds of passengers unsure how long they will remain at sea.
(Bloomberg) - President Donald Trump questioned whether New York will need as many ventilators as its governor, Andrew Cuomo, is seeking to treat coronavirus patients, saying Cuomo’s projections could be “extremely high.”Cuomo said Friday New York may need as many as 30,000 to 40,000 of the medical devices to treat coronavirus patients in critical condition. The state is the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, the largest of any country in the world according to public reporting.“I think their estimates are high,” Trump said of Cuomo’s projections at a White House news conference on Friday. “I hope they’re high, they could be extremely high.”Trump said, “I think there’s a very good chance” the U.S. won’t need as many ventilators as Cuomo and other governors have requested.Trump claimed the federal government had sent “thousands” of ventilators to New York that aren’t being used. Cuomo said cases in the state could peak in three to four weeks.“We sent thousands of ventilators, and they didn’t know they got them, then we sent thousands of ventilators to New York - they have a warehouse, a New York warehouse, in Edison, New Jersey, which is an interesting thing - and we sent them to Edison, New Jersey, they were in the warehouse, ready to go, and New York never took them,” Trump said.Cuomo said earlier on Friday that the ventilators are in a warehouse because the New York doesn’t need them immediately. At a briefing, he showed a slide indicating that the state has received 4,400 ventilators from the federal government and that 2,400 had been distributed to hospitals.“Yes, they’re in a stockpile because that’s where they’re supposed to be, because we don’t need them yet,” Cuomo said. “We need them for the apex, the apex isn’t here, so we’re gathering them in the stockpile so when we need them, they will be there.”Trump said that he hopes the U.S. will soon have a surplus of ventilators to provide to other countries, saying he had fielded requests from the U.K., Germany, Italy and Spain.“We want to have so many that we do have - more than we need, because we can send them to other great countries, other countries that have been our friends and they’ll never be able to do it themselves,” Trump said.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Hours after a Fox News interview in which he downplayed a national shortage of hospital ventilators to treat patients infected with the coronavirus, President Trump fired off a number of tweets Friday blaming General Motors and its CEO, Mary Barra, for not manufacturing more of them.
A large majority of Americans disagree with President Trump that the nation’s battle against the coronavirus is winding down and that normal economic activity should resume sooner rather than later, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll.
A truck collided with a pedestrian bridge early Friday in Detroit, sending a portion of the span onto a freeway and blocking traffic along part of the heavily traveled thoroughfare, authorities said. No one was injured in the collapse onto westbound Interstate 94, Lt. Mike Shaw, a Michigan State Police spokesman, said in an email. The freeway in both directions was closed after the collapse, which was caused by a truck apparently carrying a large load hitting the bridge at some point after 5 a.m, said Diane Cross, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Transportation.
President Trump slammed Representative Thomas Massie (R., Ky.) on Friday for saying he would vote against the Senate’s $2-trillion coronavirus relief package, calling him a “third rate Grandstander” who “just wants the publicity” and saying he should be kicked out of the GOP.Trump, who called it “HELL” to work with Democrats, also admitted Republicans “had to give up some stupid things in order to get the ‘big picture’ done.”> …& costly. Workers & small businesses need money now in order to survive. Virus wasn’t their fault. It is “HELL” dealing with the Dems, had to give up some stupid things in order to get the “big picture” done. 90% GREAT! WIN BACK HOUSE, but throw Massie out of Republican Party!> > - Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020Trump then added that the Kentucky Republican is "empowering the Radical Left Democrats" and "is a disaster for America, and for the Great State of Kentucky!"> By empowering the Radical Left Democrats, do nothing Kentucky politician @RepThomasMassie is making their War on the 2nd Amendment more and more difficult to win (But don’t worry, we will win anyway!). He is a disaster for America, and for the Great State of Kentucky!> > - Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020According to Politico, Massie reportedly reached out to Trump on Friday morning, but it remains unclear if they connected.> NEWS — @RepThomasMassie reached out to talk to @realDonaldTrump this morning, per multiple sources. Not clear if they connected — but @RepThomasMassie made the call.> > - Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) March 27, 2020Massie said in a radio interview on Thursday morning that the bill, although it includes direct payments of $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for married couples, is not justified due to its price tag, which would further worsen the already-growing national debt.Massie's comments prompted congressional leadership to urge their members to rush back to Washington, D.C., to vote in person due to concerns that Massie's lone dissenting vote could have blocked the unanimous consent required to pass a bill by a so-called voice vote.“I know there are people saying, ‘Oh, you gotta vote for it. You can’t slow this down,'” Massie argued. “Meanwhile, they spent a week in the Senate arguing how much money should go to the Kennedy Center.”Multiple members of Congress publicly criticized Massie’s stance.While Representative Eric Swalwell (D., Calif.) said, “I don’t want make an insignificant person more significant,” New York Republican Peter King lit into his fellow caucus member.“Because of one Member of Congress refusing to allow emergency action entire Congress must be called back to vote in House. Risk of infection and risk of legislation being delayed. Disgraceful. Irresponsible,” tweeted King, who said in November he would not seek reelection in 2020.> Heading to Washington to vote on pandemic legislation. Because of one Member of Congress refusing to allow emergency action entire Congress must be called back to vote in House. Risk of infection and risk of legislation being delayed. Disgraceful. Irresponsible.> > - Rep. Pete King (@RepPeteKing) March 27, 2020Massie is already being challenged by Todd McMurtry — the lawyer for Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann — who said in January that he was launching a primary bid against Massie in Kentucky’s fourth congressional district.McMurtry’s campaign has already positioned itself with the president, arguing that Trump cannot count on Massie’s support.
A Texas man, ranting on social media about the congressional response to the coronavirus outbreak, has been charged with making death threats to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.Gavin Weslee Blake Perry, 27, of Wichita Falls, Texas, wrote on his personal Facebook page Monday that Pelosi was part of a satanic cult and that she and other Democrats should be killed, authorities said.The posts were still online as of Thursday night.Prosecutors said that Perry wrote, "If youre a dem or apart of the establishment in the democrats side I view you as a criminal and a terrorist and I advise everyone to Go SOS and use live rounds."The post, which used an abbreviation for "shoot on sight," included a screenshot of what appeared to be two tweets by Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. One, by Schumer himself, was critical of President Donald Trump's handling of the health emergency.The second was written by someone impersonating Schumer and criticized Trump for barring travelers from entering the United States from China."Shoot to kill," Perry wrote, according to prosecutors. "This is a revolution."Perry was charged with transmitting a threatening communication in interstate commerce and faces up to five years in prison.Perry, who was arrested Wednesday and remains in custody, did not have a lawyer as of Thursday night, according to court records. He made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Northern Texas on Thursday via videoconference.His alleged screed came as Congress and the Trump administration were negotiating a $2 trillion stimulus package to reduce the economic havoc caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Senate approved the package Wednesday and it has advanced to the House.Prosecutors said that Perry told the law enforcement officers who arrested him that they were violating his First Amendment right to free speech and that their actions were punishable by death."The Department of Justice takes the security of our public servants seriously," Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. attorney for Northern Texas, said in a statement. "Americans are entitled to voice their opinions - but we will not allow them to threaten our officials' physical safety."The threats against Pelosi were posted beneath an article from an anti-abortion website that Perry shared on Facebook."Nancy pelosi is apart of a santanic cult and so are rhe people who work closly with her," Perry wrote, according to prosecutors. "Dems of the establishment will be removed at any cost necessary and yes that means by death."Pelosi's office declined to comment, and Schumer's office said it could not immediately comment Thursday night.This month, a Connecticut man was arrested on charges that he threatened to kill Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who was the lead impeachment manager in the House. Several other Democratic lawmakers have faced similar death threats.Law enforcement officials said a concerned citizen tipped off local police about Perry's posts."The defendant threatened the life of an elected official and that will not be tolerated," Matthew J. DeSarno, the FBI special agent in charge in Dallas, said in a statement.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was largely sidelined during final talks on the massive economic rescue package that cleared the Senate on Wednesday. Once again, he's learned the risk of getting ahead of President Trump.
As America converts itself into a nation of shut-ins, one group appears to be less interested than others in following the ever-lengthening list of health tips aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic: men. According to a March 18-24 Reuters/Ipsos poll, U.S. men are clearly taking the coronavirus less seriously than women, who are more likely to support aggressive steps to combat the virus, as well as take personal, proactive measures such as avoiding physical contact and washing their hands more often. This gender gap is woven throughout American society: it is clear among men and women of the same race, political persuasion and community type.
The Kremlin confirmed a coronavirus case in President Vladimir Putin's administration on Friday and the government said measures imposed in Moscow to fight the virus should be extended across Russia. The Kremlin said it was taking measures to stop the virus spreading further after a staff member in the presidential administration contracted the virus. It said the person had not come into contact with Putin, but declined to identify them.