(USNewsMag.com) – The Omicron variant is causing a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 cases across the world. China has tightened travel restrictions ahead of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. The new rules are being blamed for a flight turning back to its point of origin mid-flight.
On Monday, December 27, Delta Airlines announced a flight from Seattle to Shanghai Pudong International Airport had to return to the US mid-flight because of new cleaning protocols at the destination. It’s unclear what the protocols entail, but they would reportedly have taken too long. Delta said the strict regulations would have “required significantly extended ground time and are not operationally viable for” the airline.
A Delta flight to Shanghai turned around "mid-flight" over new COVID rules at airport. https://t.co/UpHsGd2bKc
— Ryan Elijah FOX 35 (@ryanelijah) December 27, 2021
Delta isn’t the only airline objecting to the new protocols. China Airlines and EVA Air, both based in Taiwan, are limiting the number of flights to the Shanghai airport, as well. They both cited the new sanitizing rules and the length of time they would take as a reason for their decision. China Airlines stopped all flights from one city to the airport until the end of January and EVA suspended flights from two cities to Shanghai until February 3.
The Beijing Winter Olympics are just weeks away. With COVID-19 cases rising, it’s unclear how the virus will impact flights that will carry athletes and spectators to China for the games.
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