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COVID-19 cleaning mandate caused flight to Shanghai to turn around

A Delta Airlines Boeing 757 seen from the National Mall in Washington, D.C., makes its final descent into Ronald Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Va., on July 14
Greg Nash

The Shanghai airport’s new COVID-19-related cleaning requirements forced a Delta Air Lines flight from Seattle to turn around last week, the airline said on Monday. 

Delta said the Shanghai Pudong International Airport’s policies would “require significantly extended ground time and are not operationally viable for Delta,” according to The Associated Press

After the flight was forced to turn around in midair, Chinese media reports said passengers were left with expired COVID-19 test results and visas, the AP reported. 

It was unclear what policies specifically prompted the flight to turn around and what prompted the airport’s change in rules, the wire service added. 

The Chinese Consulate in San Francisco referenced a flight that turned around mid-trip in a statement on Sunday and said that it “had made a stern representation to the airline,” though it did not name Delta specifically, per the AP. 

The Hill has reached out to Delta for comment. 

The airport’s new policies come as China has cracked down on COVID-19 mitigation efforts. The country recently imposed a lockdown of roughly 13 million people in Xi’an after about 50 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the area. 

As part of the mandate, only one person per household is permitted to go out every two days to buy necessities. 

China has consistently taken a strict approach to handling COVID-19 with measures including imposing lockdowns as well as strict masking and testing requirements. 

Tags COVID-19 Delta Air Lines

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