• Russian official COVID-19 positive after Soyuz crew launch

    Date:22 April 2020 Author: Leila Stein Tags:,

    Shortly after three astronauts launched for their journey to the International Space Station, a Russian space official who was at the launch tested positive for the coronavirus.

    According to Space.com, Roscosmos, the Russian space agency said that it was impossible that any contamination could have spread to the ISS.

    The crew, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner arrived at the ISS on April 9 after a successful launch and arrival.

    The official, Evegeny Mikrin, the deputy CEO and chief designer at RSC Energia, was at the launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and was reported positive by the Russian news agency TASS this week.

    He was among 30 people declared infected in Roscosmos.

    He was seen relatively close to Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner prior to the launch, according to the New York Post. 

    The Russian space agency however said there was absolutely no need for concern.

    “Potential ISS contamination is absolutely impossible as the number of personnel involved in the related operations has been minimized and those remaining follow the strictest rules and precautionary measures to prevent any possible threat to the crews,” Roscosmos public affairs representative Oleg Bolashev told Space.com.

    According to NASA, the crew were placed in strict quarantine and all social distancing and personal protective equipment measures were in place.

    “It is standard NASA practice, as it is with all our international partners, to protect astronauts’ health prior to launch and monitor them closely when they first arrive at the International Space Station,” NASA press representative Dan Huot told Space.com.

    Image: Roscosmos/Twitter