Russia Energy Minister Tests Positive for Covid-19

Russia Energy Minister Tests Positive for Covid-19

Russia's energy minister Alexander Novak has tested positive for Covid-19, Russian news agency TASS has reported.

According to TASS, a Russian energy ministry spokesperson told the news agency that Novak tested positive for the virus during a work trip to the far east.

"He doesn't have any symptoms and feels well," the spokesperson was quoted as saying by TASS.

"The energy minister will continue to fulfill his duties remotely. In particular, on August 19, he will take part in a meeting of the OPEC+ monitoring committee via video link," the spokesperson added.

Novak was appointed minister of energy by presidential executive order back in 2012. Prior to his role as energy minister, Novak served as Russia's deputy minister of finance, the prime minister of the Krasnoyarsk territory and as the Norilsk first deputy mayor. Novak has also been a member of the Gazprom board of directors since 2015.

As of August 16, Russia has registered 922,853 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 15,685 deaths, according to the latest information from the World Health Organization (WHO). Globally, there have been 21.2 million confirmed cases of the virus and 761,779 deaths, as of August 16, WHO data shows.

Bloomberg reported last week that Russian president Vladimir Putin had approved the world's first Covid-19 vaccine. The speed at which the vaccine received regulatory approval has been met with criticism, however, Bloomberg noted.

OPEC's Joint Technical Committee (JTC) convened on Monday for its 43rd meeting. During the meeting, the organization's secretary general Mohammed Barkindo underscored the "devastating" impact of the pandemic and said the actions taken by OPEC and its partners have contributed to an improved balance in the oil market compared to the situation in April. Barkindo warned, however, that the group must remain vigilant in monitoring market conditions.

The JTC advises the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC), which is scheduled to hold its next meeting via webinar on Wednesday.

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