As coronavirus cases continue to surge in Russia, another high-ranking Kremlin official has been stricken with COVID-19. Dmitry Peskov’s illness comes as Russia overtakes Spain as the country with the highest number of COVID-19 cases after the U.S.

Iran Press/Europe: Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary and one of his closest aides, confirmed to state-run media on Tuesday that he had “fallen ill” with the virus.

News of Peskov’s illness comes as Russia overtook Spain this week as the country with the highest number of COVID-19 cases after the United States. The country has reported over 242,271 confirmed infections to date and about 2,212 deaths. 

Among the sick were several top Kremlin officials including Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, as well as the heads of Russia’s construction and culture ministries.  The chief of Moscow’s main coronavirus hospital, Denis Protsenko, and Putin’s first deputy chief of staff, Sergei Kiriyenko, have also tested positive for the disease.

Despite the rising number of cases, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Monday that Russia was ready to lift its partial economic lockdown.

On the morning of May 13, Russian officials announced that the country recorded 10,028 new coronavirus infections in the past day (up 4.3 percent from the day before) bringing the nation’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 242,271 patients.

The only country in the world with more registered coronavirus patients is the United States, where nearly 1.4 million people have tested positive for the disease.

Another 96 people reportedly died from the disease, raising Russia’s total number of fatalities caused by COVID-19 to 2,212.

As many as 48,003 people in Russia are known to have recovered fully, including 4,491 in the past day.

Russia says it’s conducted more than 5.9 million coronavirus tests, so far, including 177,000 in the past day.

More than 4.2 million people worldwide have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, and over 292,000 have died.

In the US, there have been over 1.3 million confirmed cases and more than 82,000 deaths.

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