Prime Minister Narendra Modi today wished fast recovery from COVID-19 to his Russian counterpart Mikhail Mishustin, who was found infected with the highly infectious coronavirus on Thursday.
In a televised meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Mishustin said he has to "observe self-isolation" to protect his colleagues, suggesting a temporary acting Prime Minister for Russia.
"My best wishes to Russian PM Mishustin for early recovery and good health. We stand with our close friend Russia in efforts to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic. @GovernmentRF," PM Modi tweeted this morning.
My best wishes to Russian PM Mishustin for early recovery and good health. We stand with our close friend Russia in efforts to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic. @GovernmentRF— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 1, 2020
Mr Putin swiftly signed a decree appointing First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov as a temporary replacement.
The Russian President assured Mr Mishustin that contracting COVID-19 "can happen to anyone" and that no major decisions would be taken without his input, news agency AFP reported. "I hope that you stay able to work," Mr Putin told Mr Mishustin, who is the highest Russian official to become infected.
Mr Putin has not held any face-to-face meetings for weeks, according to the Kremlin website, and was last shown in the same room as Mr Mishustin on March 24.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was also found infected with COVID-19 weeks ago. He has recovered now.
A spike of 7,099 confirmed infections in the last 24 hours brought Russia's total to over one lakh cases and 1,073 deaths, according to the Russian government's daily coronavirus update.
With its number of cases increasing by several thousand each day, Russia is now the European country registering the most new infections.
But Russia's coronavirus death rate remains relatively low and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the country's actions had helped it avoid the catastrophic "Italian scenario".
Russia's success was down to "tough self-isolation decisions" and government measures "which convinced people to stay at home," Mr Peskov told the RTVI television channel, AFP reported.
With inputs from AFP