Russia’s construction minister, and deputy, now off with Covid-19

Russia’s construction minister, Vladimir Yakushev, and his deputy, Dmitry Volkov, have both stepped down from their duties after contracting Covid-19, state news agency Tass reported Friday, 1 May. 

They join the country’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin (pictured), who announced he had tested positive on 30 April.

Confirmed cases have risen steeply in Russia over the past four days, with 10,600 cases recorded yesterday, the biggest daily count since the pandemic began.

The latest count by Johns Hopkins University puts Russia’s case total at 145,268. 

Construction minister Yakushev said he would undergo treatment at a hospital in Moscow, Tass reported.

A junior minister, Nikita Stasishin, has been appointed acting minister of construction.

According to the Kremlin’s account, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin told President Vladimir Putin by video conference: "The Government will continue to operate as normal. I plan to keep up regularly with my colleagues by telephone, and by videoconference with you, Mr President, on all major issues." 

Andrei Belousov has been appointed acting prime minister.

Meanwhile, a third Russian healthcare worker has fallen from a hospital window in mysterious circumstances.

Paramedic Alexander Shulepov, 37, is in critical condition with a skull fracture from the fall, which occurred after he complained of being forced to work despite testing positive for the coronavirus, reports The Moscow Times. 

This followed the fall from a hospital window of a doctor, Yelena Nepomnyashchaya, 47, who was the head of a Siberian hospital repurposed for coronavirus patients.

Now in critical condition, she is reported to have complained about a lack of protective gear and training. 

Another doctor, Natalia Lebedeva, an officer at a cosmonaut training centre outside Moscow, plunged to her death Friday from the window of a hospital room where she was placed with Covid-19 symptoms earlier last week. 

Image: Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) in video conference with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, 30 April 2020 (

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