Coronavirus live updates: TSA to require employees to wear ‘facial protection’

Posted on: May 8th, 2020 by ABC News No Comments

Myriam Borzee/iStockBy WILLIAM MANSELL, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 269,000 people worldwide.

Over 3.84 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 1.2 million diagnosed cases and at least 75,670 deaths.

Here’s how the news is developing Friday. All times Eastern:

4:43 a.m.: TSA to require employees to wear ‘facial protection’ at screening checkpoints

After more than two months into the coronavirus pandemic, the Transportation Security Administration announced all employees must wear “facial protection” at screening checkpoints.

The agency said the practice “will be implemented over the coming days.”

“TSA is making this change to protect our employees and travelers as social distancing cannot always be maintained in the screening process,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement Thursday.

In mid-March, the union representing TSA officers requested the agency provide surgical masks to employees and allow officers to wear N95 respirators. It took two weeks for the agency to do both. Currently, TSA is providing employees with N95s, eye protection and installing plexiglass at the travel document checker in some airports.

Multiple airports have already mandated that all employees and passengers must wear face coverings.

This comes as the number of air travelers continues to tick up and after all major U.S. airlines announced they would require both passengers and crew to wear face coverings.

TSA has had 534 federal employees test positive for COVID-19. As of Thursday morning, 285 of those employees have recovered, and six have died after contracting the virus.

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