Etihad Airways has temporarily cancelled passenger flights to Shanghai after six passengers registered positive test results upon landing in China.
China's aviation regulator has suspended the route for one week from August 17.
"Etihad Airways can confirm that six guests who flew on its flight EY862 from Abu Dhabi to Shanghai on August 3, registered positive in their nucleic acid tests on arrival at Pudong International Airport, as reported by the Shanghai Covid-19 Prevention and Control Office," explained a spokesperson for Etihad.
"All six guests had completed mandatory PCR testing, exhibited no symptoms and had provided negative result certificates for Covid-19 upon check-in."
The travellers are now being quarantined at a medical facility in Shanghai.
In response, China's aviation authority has temporarily suspended Etihad's upcoming flights to Shanghai.
Flight EY682 set to depart Abu Dhabi on August 17 for China and flight EY867 from Shanghai to the UAE on August 18 are cancelled. The airline is notifying travellers who were due to fly on either of these flights.
New rules for Shanghai flights
Etihad has updated its travel rules for future flights to Shanghai.
Passengers must now show a negative Covid-19 PCR test result issued within 48 hours of departure from Abu Dhabi. Previously the requirement was for a test taken 96 hours before departure.
All travellers must be able to show the airline negative test results before boarding, including children and infants. Previously this rule did not apply to children under 12.
"The PCR test must be carried out by a clinic recognised by the local government or designated by the Chinese Embassy in their departure country. If travelling from the UAE, Etihad Airways will only accept a Covid-19 PCR test result from Mediclinic and SEHA screening facilities," affirmed the airline.
Passengers that test positive will not be permitted to travel and Etihad will rebook their flight free of charge. Travellers can also cancel their booking and use the value of their flight towards their next trip. Travellers must also complete a health declaration form and share a screenshot of this at check-in, paper copies will not be accepted.
Etihad restarted its weekly flight to China's biggest city on Monday, July 27 and all passengers had to show negative Covid-19 PCR test results before flying.
On Tuesday, the UAE recorded an additional 262 new cases of Covid-19. The infections were detected as 64,110 tests were conducted. The new cases brought the country's total to 62,966 since the outbreak, but there are currently only 5,647 active cases. China's total number of confirmed Covid-19 case numbers is 84,737, but the country has only 761 active cases remaining.
More flight suspensions
China is also temporarily suspending flights operated by China Eastern Airlines from Shanghai to Manila, again because of positive coronavirus tests. The Filipino capital is back under lockdown measures as Covid-19 cases continue to rise.
SriLankan Airlines is also facing suspension from China. Flights from Colombo to Shanghai are to be suspended for four weeks from Monday, August 17. According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China this is due to a high number of arriving passengers testing positive for the coronavirus.