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"Patrushev and O’Brien focused on Russia-US cooperation to combat the spread of COVID-19. They also discussed other security issues," the statement reads.
This was the first phone call between Patrushev and O’Brien, who was appointed National Security Advisor in September 2019. The Russian Security Council had held a number of meetings with O’Brien’s predecessor John Bolton. The two last met in Jerusalem in June 2019.
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia. On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 2,190,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 147,000 deaths have been reported.