Some Manitoba First Nations are asking for military help to prepare for the coronavirus pandemic.

Global News has confirmed a report first published by CBC News on Tuesday morning that two First Nations communities in Manitoba — the Cross Lake Band of Indians and Norway House Cree Nation — sent their requests to Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan in the form of a letter.

However, that’s not the normal route for making such asks.

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Communities requesting military help generally need to go through their provincial governments, so it’s unclear at this point what will happen next and how those requests will be addressed.

Global News has reached out to Sajjan’s office for their reaction.

2:00Coronavirus outbreak: Canadian Forces focused on ‘flexibility’ as mission priority

Coronavirus outbreak: Canadian Forces focused on ‘flexibility’ as mission priority

The COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe has infected 801,400 people so far and killed 38,743.

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In Canada, there are 7,424 confirmed cases and 89 deaths as of Tuesday morning.


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But the lack of doctors, poverty, remoteness and close quarters in many Indigenous communities have been raised by parliamentarians as factors that make those communities especially vulnerable.