Putin visits hospital treating coronavirus patients donning hazmat suit, infections in Russia near 500

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Even Russian strongman Vladimir Putin is taking full precautions as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise in his country.

The Russian leader -- who is known for using state media to create memorable moments -- on Tuesday visited a hospital on the outskirts of Moscow treating COVID-19 patients.

During his visit to the Kommunarka hospital, Putin praised its doctors for high professionalism, saying they were working “like clockwork.”

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The Russian president then donned a yellow hazmat suit with a mask and went into a treatment area after meeting with the hospital's chief doctor.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center right, wearing a protective suit enters a hall during his visit to the hospital for coronavirus patients in Kommunarka settlement, outside Moscow, Russia, Tuesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center right, wearing a protective suit enters a hall during his visit to the hospital for coronavirus patients in Kommunarka settlement, outside Moscow, Russia, Tuesday. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Photographs from the tour show Putin standing out from the crowd, wearing the yellow suit as he strolls through the halls of the hospital.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, wearing a protective suit enters a hall during his visit to the hospital for coronavirus patients in Kommunarka settlement, outside Moscow, Russia, Tuesday. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, wearing a protective suit enters a hall during his visit to the hospital for coronavirus patients in Kommunarka settlement, outside Moscow, Russia, Tuesday.  (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Putin is known for presenting himself as more than just a politician, including taking his shirt off on vacation, reeling in fish and diving into the sea to discover "sunken treasure."

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, dons gloves during his visit to the hospital for coronavirus patients in Kommunarka settlement, outside Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, dons gloves during his visit to the hospital for coronavirus patients in Kommunarka settlement, outside Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Russia confirmed 57 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases to 495, according to the Moscow Times. At least one COVID-19 related death was reported.

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The numbers in Russia have contrasted with the quick spread in Europe, where thousands have died in Italy and Spain.

During a visit to the Komunarka hospital on Moscow outskirts, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised its doctors for high professionalism, saying they were working "like clockwork."

During a visit to the Komunarka hospital on Moscow outskirts, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised its doctors for high professionalism, saying they were working "like clockwork." (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Some experts said the low numbers could be attributed to a relatively slow pace of screening. Until recently, just one lab in Novosibirsk was analyzing tests in Russia. Authorities have moved to open new labs and increase the number of tests.

A reported sharp increase in pneumonia cases in Moscow has fueled such concerns in recent days.

“I have a feeling they (the authorities) are lying to us,” said Anastasia Vasilyeva, head of Russia’s Doctor’s Alliance trade union, told Reuters.

On Tuesday, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin reported to Putin the number of coronavirus tests performed in the capital will increase from about 3,000 a day to 13,000 later this week.

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Sobyanin said the situation could quickly exacerbate.

“The momentum is high and a serious situation is unfolding,” Sobyanin told Putin, according to the Moscow Times. "The real number of those who are sick is significantly higher," he added.

Fox News' Greg Norman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.