A Delta flight to Shanghai was forced to turn around midair due to sudden change of Covid rules

A Delta Air Lines flight to Shanghai was forced to turn around midair last week after the Shanghai airport implemented new lengthy cleaning requirements related to COVID-19.

Delta said in an email statement on Monday that the new cleaning procedures at Shanghai Pudong International Airport “require significantly extended ground time and are not operationally viable for Delta.”

As a result, some passengers on the nearly 13-hour flight were left with expired U.S. visas and COVID-19 test results, Chinese media reported.

China requires travelers to have a negative PCR and antibody test within 48 hours of the flight. Passengers must have two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at least two weeks before traveling and show proof upon arrival.

The Chinese consulate in San Francisco said in a statement on Sunday that several flights leaving from the U.S. to China had been canceled or delayed recently and one flight was turned back more than halfway.

It is unclear what the new COVID-19 cleaning mandates are or what caused the sudden change for Shanghai Pudong International Airport, but China has announced new COVID-19 travel restrictions in some regions after an outbreak of cases ahead of the Winter Olympics in Beijing in a few weeks.

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