2 South African firefighters in Manitoba to help battle Manitoba wildfires test positive for COVID-19

Two of the South African firefighters who travelled to Manitoba to help fight wildfires in the province have tested positive for COVID-19.

A provincial spokesperson said all of the South African firefighters who have come to Manitoba were tested prior to their departure and again after they arrived in the province.

The two who tested positive are currently self-isolating, as are their close contacts, the spokesperson said.

If a public health risk is found related to the cases, the province will release more information, they said in a statement emailed to CBC News Friday.

At this point, all other members of the team from South Africa have tested negative for COVID-19. Further testing will be done as required, the provincial spokesperson said.

More than 100 firefighters from South Africa, along with their support staff, arrived Wednesday to help battle Manitoba’s wildfires and are expected to be in the province for 34 days. They will work independently, with supervision from the province, the spokesperson’s statement said.

“The province continues to express its gratitude for the support offered by the South African firefighters during this unprecedented wildfire season,” Friday’s statement said.

As of Friday, there are 136 wildfires burning in Manitoba, according to an update on the province’s website.

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