Moscow- Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has been moved to a high ward with symptoms of a respiratory illness and has been tested for coronavirus, the Izvestia newspaper reported on Monday after he said he had a high temperature and cough.
Navalny, a prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin who declared a hunger strike last week and accused prison staff of denying him proper treatment for acute back and leg pain, alleged earlier that there was a tuberculosis outbreak in his ward.
The 44-year politician who has demanded his release from the West said three people on his ward had been hospitalised with tuberculosis and joked darkly that catching the disease could offer him relief from his other ailments.
If you have tuberculosis, maybe it can chase out the pain in your back and numbness in your legs. That would be nice, he wrote on Instagram; he said prison authorities had measured his temperature at 38.1 degrees Celsius.
He also said he had a bad cough hours later, Izvestia, a pro-Kremlin newspaper, cited a statement by the federal prison service saying that he had been moved to a different ward and had various tests including for the coronavirus. The Izvestia report did not say where the corrective ward was, but one of his lawyers said it appeared to be within the IK 2 corrective penal colony 100 km east of Moscow where he was being held, the TV Rain outlet reported.
Navalny accused prison authorities there of depriving him of sleep by making him wake up at night and refusing to give him proper medical care.
The prison authorities deny sleep deprivation and have previously said that Navalny's condition was satisfactory and that he has been provided with all the necessary treatment.
On Monday, the prison holding him did not respond to a comment request immediately.
His allies said late last week that they would stage a rolling protest outside his prison from Tuesday unless he was given what they regard as correct medicine by a doctor of his choice and given what they consider as rolling medicine. His lawyers have regularly visited him in custody and help him continue to post messages on social media.
In a press conference, Amnesty International Secretary General, Adnes Callamard, said she had appealed to Putin over Navalny's arbitrary arrest and the deteriorating health condition.
There is a slow possibility that Russia is subjecting him to a real death.
He must be granted immediate access to a medical doctor he trusts and he must be freed, she wrote on Twitter.
The state media and some members of a prison monitoring group have accused Navalny of faking his public problems in order to keep himself in the public eye, which Navalny and his allies deny.