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Russia’s top coronavirus doctor tests positive for COVID-19 after shaking hands with Putin

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The head of Moscow’s main coronavirus hospital who met with President Vladimir Putin a week ago has tested positive, he said Tuesday, as the Kremlin announced the Russian leader’s health was fine.

Last Tuesday Denis Protsenko met with the Russian leader who inspected the Kommunarka hospital while wearing a bright yellow hazmat suit. But the 67-year-old Putin was also seen talking to Protsenko without any protective gear.

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov swiftly told Russian news agencies that Putin took regular tests and there was no reason to worry about his health.

“Everything is fine,” Peskov said.

Protsenko said he tested positive but “felt quite well”.

Posting a picture of himself wearing a mask and green scrubs on Facebook, he said he self-isolated in his office and would continue to work.

Protsenko has become a high-profile figure on the frontlines of Russia’s fight against COVID-19, posting daily on Facebook to inform Russians about his hospital’s work and patients.

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Over the past 24 hours Russian authorities have reported 500 new cases — the biggest daily increase so far — bringing the total tally to 2,337 cases and 17 fatalities.

Most have been registered in Moscow, which has become the epicentre of the outbreak in Russia.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Kremlin has started measuring temperatures of people attending events with the president, asking journalists feeling unwell to stay home.

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Observers say the Russian strongman appears to be exceptionally conscious of risks to his health.


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Governor deploys National Guard troops to Minneapolis as cop who killed George Floyd remains free

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Minneapolis officials called for calm Thursday as they girded for fresh violence after a second night of demonstrations over the police killing of an unarmed African American left numerous stores ablaze and one person dead.

Protesters were planning to take to the streets again in the northern US city Thursday evening over the death in custody of 46-year-old restaurant worker George Floyd, seen as the latest in a long series of unjustified police killings of black civilians.

The White House said President Donald Trump was "very upset" upon seeing "egregious, appalling" video footage of Monday's killing and had demanded his staff see that the investigation was given top priority.

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Trump is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist — with powers he doesn’t have: NYT reporter

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President Donald Trump's new executive order on social media companies was ridiculed on MSNBC's "Deadline: White House" on Thursday.

"Donald Trump has moved at remarkable speed -- imagine if he did that with the pandemic -- in his attempt to exact revenge on Twitter for daring to fact-check a pair of his tweets," Nicolle Wallace reported.

"Just this hour he brought reporters into the Oval Office with Attorney General Bill Barr right next to him. Trump said he's about to sign an executive order with new regulations for social media companies, seemingly designed to curtail some of their legal protections," Wallace noted.

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Trump’s gradual approval rating decline is because he consistently shows he lacks empathy: science writer

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Writing in Scientific American this Wednesday, Hemant Kakkar takes a look at what's behind the gradual decline of President Trump's approval rating, which soared in the early stages of his response to the coronavirus.

"This comports with a phenomenon documented by political scientist John Mueller in a 1970 paper and colloquially described as the rally round the flag effect: during times of crises, leaders enjoy greater popularity and support even among constituencies that were ambivalent or unsupportive in the past," Kakkar writes. "The theory helps explain the increased popularity of leaders around the world during this pandemic."

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