The spread of the novel coronavirus has prompted the Food and Drug Administration to temporarily postpone all routine inspections of manufacturing facilities in the U.S. The agency has also directed most employees to begin teleworking.

The move, which comes one week after foreign inspections were suspended for several weeks, will halt inspections the agency typically conducts every few years based on risk analyses. Otherwise, the FDA will inspect facilities only when specific manufacturing issues arise and are evaluated as “mission critical.” This includes pre-approval inspections for products not yet approved for marketing.

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