Mkhize: Don't be anxious about SA citizens returning from Wuhan

President Cyril Ramaphosa and the minister held a briefing at OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday night as a plane left for China.

President Cyril Ramaphosa (R) and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize (L) at a media briefing at OR Tambo International Airport on 10 March 2020 on the repatriation of 122 South Africans from Wuhan, China, following the COVID-19 outbreak. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the operation to bring home 122 South Africans from Wuhan, China, is aimed at restoring calm.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and the minister held a briefing at OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday night as a plane left for China. A team of 15 officials is leading the mission to bring the group back.

“These are South Africans who were yearning to come back home and requested the government to help them to come back. So, it’s important for South Africans to know that this is a humanitarian exercise and we are actually trying to make sure that we are united with our South Africans and people must not feel so anxious about it,” Mkhize said.

He said the 122 South Africans had each tested negative for COVID-19.

“South Africans must not fight about it, be angry or fear it, we must just unite as South Africans. We are not bringing people because they’re sick; they’re healthy and there is no problem with them,” he said.

Details surrounding the group's return home including where they would be quarantined were still unclear.