The strongman leader of Russia's southern Chechnya region, Ramzan Kadyrov, was in hospital in Moscow on Thursday suffering from suspected coronavirus, news agencies reported.
Chechen authorities have not confirmed or denied the reports, and officials, including Kadrov's spokesperson, Ilman Vakhidov, did not answer telephone calls. Culturally and religious factors may be behind a raging outbreak of the Chinese coronavirus in the region, infecting even Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. Kadyrov has become a singular figure in his native Chechnya, where he was installed by Vladimir Putin in 2007 in order to quell a simmering insurgency.
Kadyrov said that people who broke coronavirus quarantine should be "killed", and compared Chechens who did not self-isolate and infected others to "terrorists" who should be buried in pits. We hope that we have succeeded by giving you the full details and information.
Several senior Russian officials have previously contracted the virus, including Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
Kadyrov, 43, was reportedly flown to the Russian capital Wednesday, a few days after reporting flu-like symptoms, the Baza Telegram channel reported earlier Thursday.
Coronavirus: Chechnya's Ramzan Kadyrov 'flown to Moscow hospital'
Under Ramzan Kadyrov's rule there have been repeated allegations of abuse at the hands of his security forces, with claims of extrajudicial killings and illegal detentions.
Medical workers in the region complained about shortages of personal protective equipment, but later had to retract their statements as a "mistake" and apologize on TV, which critics of Chechnya's regime often end up doing.
Russian Federation has recorded 3,099 coronavirus deaths and 317,554 infections, the second-highest number of cases in the world after the United States.
Russian officials have been accused of lowering its coronavirus mortality rates by ascribing deaths to pneumonia. According to the publication's source, the head of the Chechen Republic is now under medical supervision. In neighbouring Dagestan dozens of medics are reported to have died and doctors speak of hospitals full of patients, but the number of confirmed cases is low.
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