COVID-19: On the way to China, Delta flight turns around due to new restrictions

US company Delta Airlines decided to return a plane on a Shanghai-bound flight to Seattle last week due to new health restrictions required at the airport, prompting criticism from the Chinese authorities.

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“To comply with the cleaning requirements at Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) issued by the Chinese government on December 21, Flight 287 from Seattle to Shanghai returned to (Seattle) en route to (Shanghai),,” the spokesperson said in an email to AFP on Monday. .

“The new cleaning procedures require significantly extended time on the floor and are not operationally viable for Delta,” he added, without giving details of the procedures involved.

According to Chinese media reports, many passengers in the United States ended up with expired COVID tests and expired visas, prompting the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco to formally file a complaint with Delta.

Thousands of flights have been canceled in recent days by airlines around the world, with many pilots and crews falling ill or in quarantine due to the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Many authorities have also tightened restrictions, as the Chinese authorities have been particularly on alert with the approach of the Beijing Olympics, which start in less than 40 days.

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