Chin’ono develops Covid-19 symptoms, shuffled into cell with 30 inmates

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By Costa Nkomo

JAILED journalist Hopewell Chin’ono has reportedly developed Covid-19 symptoms.

This was revealed by his lawyers after the freelance scribe was examined by a private doctor Monday when he fell ill at Chikurubi Maximum Prison where he awaits trial for inciting public violence.

Chin’ono has been unwell since Sunday and was hastily attended to by a private doctor at prison Monday afternoon.

The doctor confirmed to Chin’ono’s lawyers that the investigative journalist and film maker was exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms.

He has since been tested for Covid-19 but his results are pending.

“I have spoken to the doctor and the symptoms he is showing are that he has a fever, headache and taste distortions,” lawyer Douglas Coltart told

“The doctor has since advised us that while it is not conclusive that it’s Covid-19, the symptoms are a concern and the doctor has since led the tests and we wait for results.

“Hopewell has been designated as a potential Covid-19 patient.”

Despite Chin’ono showing Covid-19 symptoms, prison officials have not quarantined him from other prisoners as a precautionary measure.

Instead, he has been moved to a cell which holds about 20-30 inmates.

“He has been moved from his original cell and has been put in a cell which was designed for 16 people but currently holds 20-30 people,” Coltart said.

Chin’ono has, during his numerous court appearances, complained of poor conditions under detention.

Two weeks ago, Harare Magistrate Ngoni Nduna allowed the journalist to inform the court over his prison nightmare but on camera.

There were concerns if Chin’ono were to testify in an open court, he may end up revealing sensitive information in violation of prison security protocols.

The Harare scribe had claimed his rights were being abused inside prison and these include confiscation of his goggles by prison authorities who feared the Covid-19 protective item could have been fitted with spying technology.