March 19, 2020 / 7:23 PM / 12 days ago

FDA suspends U.S. vape shop inspections as coronavirus spreads

FILE PHOTO: A vape shop worker organizes electronic smoking products in a local store in Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S., September 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

(Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has halted activities such as domestic compliance checks and vape shop inspections, the health regulator said on Thursday, as its staff switch to teleworking amid the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak.

The health regulator has been scaling back domestic and foreign inspections in the wake of the outbreak, which has infected more than 227,700 people across 175 countries, based on a Reuters tally.

In the United States, the virus has infected over 10,000 people and caused 150 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The FDA has already temporarily deferred all domestic routine surveillance facility inspections and postponed most foreign inspections through April.

Although the inspections stop immediately, administrative work can continue for two weeks, the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products said on Thursday.

Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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