The governor of the Yamal-Nenets region in Russia, Dmitry Artyukhov, has contracted Covid-19 despite efforts to contain the spread of pandemic in the region that hosts major gas fields of Gazprom, Novatek, Rosneft and other domestic producers.

Artyukhov revealed in a post on a Russian social network on 31 July that he has tested positive.

He said that he will stay in isolation at home until he has tested negative.

The announcement is understood to have interrupted normal operations of the Yamal-Nenets regional administration in the city of Salekhard, as dozens of people who were in contact with the governor have been ordered to isolate for 14 days.

Authorities said in the statement that so far tests of other employees in the administration have not turned up any other positive results.

Artyukhov said that, despite his illness, authorities will proceed with plans to open public recreational facilities as the number of new Covid-19 cases in Yamal-Nenets has dropped.

However, cafes and restaurants will remain shut, with authorities promising to provide a new line of loans to such businesses totalling 100 million roubles ($1.4 million).

In a separate statement, authorities said that 112 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the Yamal-Nenets region on 30 July, down from 116 on 29 July.

In May, Yamal-Nenets authorities reportedly considered an option to prohibit arrivals of shift workers to numerous oil and gas fields until end of June, as most new infections occurred at producing installations despite new arrivals being held in prior quarantine.

However, the plan was reportedly the focus of strong objections by major oil and gas producers in Yamal-Nenets, which have had to mobilise thousands of workers to their greenfield developments in the region to keep up with project schedules.

The country’s largest independent gas producer, Novatek, said on 30 July that it has no plan to push back construction deadlines for its second ambitious LNG project — Arctic LNG 2 — on the Gydan Peninsula in the Yamal-Nenets region.

Novatek will mobilise four land rigs for development and exploration drilling at the Utrenneye gas field on the peninsula to add to the existing four units, according to first deputy executive chairman Mark Gyetvay.

Speaking on a conference call in Moscow, Gyetvay said that just 16% of required development drilling at Utrenneye has been completed, although the company firmly intends on commissioning the first train of Arctic LNG 2 before the end of 2022, with gas being fed from Utrenneye.

There are 3580 people currently working at the Utrenneye field, Gyetvay said.

Work activities under way include a living camp for another 3500 construction workers and a rotational residential complex to house 1500 operating personnel.