Washington — A Navy veteranon a medical furlough says he's sick with coronavirus symptoms and is requesting a humanitarian evacuation to the United States for medical treatment.
Michael White was hospitalized Wednesday in a crowded ward for coronavirus patients in Iran and has experienced fever, fatigue, a cough and shortness of breath since his furlough last week, according to a statement from Jon Franks, a family spokesman.
White, of Imperial Beach, California, "is an immunocompromised cancer patient and his situation is urgent," Franks said. White has been tested for the coronavirus but the results haven't come back.
White was detained in July 2018 while visiting a girlfriend in Iran and was later convicted of insulting Iran's supreme leader and posting private information.
He's among tens of thousands of prisoners granted medical furloughs by Iran as the country tries to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
On Wednesday evening, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson reached out to Iran on the family's behalf to ask for an immediate humanitarian medical evacuation.
"Not only will this allow Michael to receive additional treatment here in the United States, but it will help protect Iranian citizens from further exposure and free up their own medical personnel to treat their own citizens," the statement said.
Iran has granted temporary release to tens of thousands of prisoners in recent weeks to try to contain a virus that officials fear could kill millions in the country.
In September, White's mother, Joanne, told CBS News her son's health was deteriorating and she was "really worried he'll die over there."