Mikhail Mishustin is temporarily stepping down as prime minister of the Russian Federation while he recovers from coronavirus, he told President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.
The 54-year-old suggested First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov – an economist and former Putin aide – serve as acting prime minister in his absence.
Putin, who was listening on a televised video conference, sighed when he heard the news, wished Mishustin a speedy recovery and said he agreed with the proposed replacement.
Mishustin, who has been one of the main coordinators of Russia’s response to the new coronavirus, is the first high-ranking Russian official to publicly say he or she has the virus. He broke the news hours after the number of confirmed cases of the virus in Russia surged past the 100,000 mark.