The River production crew member tests positive for COVID-19

DURBAN – A month after resuming production, one of South Africa’s telenovelas, The River, has had to halt production after a crew member had tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday, June 9. The cast and crew who were in contact with the colleague had identified themselves and went into immediate self-isolation.

Phathu Makwarela co-founder of Tshedza Pictures, the production house behind The River, released a statement via social media stating: “Ever since we resumed production on 1 May 2020, all the necessary lockdown health guidelines were implemented on set. After we received news of the colleague testing positive, we immediately asked the cast and crew that came into contact with the member to go into self-isolation. They will soon avail themselves to health authorities for testing, in-line with government directives”.

In the same statement, Nomsa Philiso, Channel Director for Local entertainment at M-NET stated her support towards the production’s decision: “We have contacted the production team in order to assure them of our support. Our understanding is that ever since they resumed production, the production team implemented all the necessary health precautions to ensure the safety of cast and crew. Now more than ever we need to show compassion to our fellow brothers and sisters and we would like to wish the affected member of the production team a speedy recovery,”

It is unclear when the show will resume production, however, other production houses are ensuring that there are health and safety measures in place for their cast and crew.

Jack Devnarain, SA Guild of Actors (SAGA) chairperson, told The Star newspaper: “There are lessons to be learned for all other productions because the last thing we want is for vulnerable cast and crew who have just returned back to work and are now finally earning some sort of income for the opportunity to be shut down again because the production can’t continue because of the risk of infection.”

 

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