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Masks still needed on airplanes, FAA says in updated recommendations

The Federal Aviation Administration wants airline crew and passengers to continue wearing masks on flights, even as Texas ended its mask mandate Wednesday.

The FAA updated its coronavirus Safety Alert for Operators Wednesday to recommend that airlines follow President Joe Biden’s mask mandate for airplanes and the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The CDC and FAA are providing this additional occupational health and safety guidance for air carriers and their crews to reduce crewmembers’ risk of exposure to COVID-19 and decrease the risk of transmission of COVID-19 on board aircraft and to destination communities through air travel," the FAA wrote in the updated document.

The CDC issued a mandate in January saying that passengers on airplanes and public transportation must wear masks as part of efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The FAA’s new guidelines also mirror a CDC order requiring passengers flying to the U.S. from another country to present negative COVID-19 test results. And while the CDC order exempts airline crew members, the FAA said that airlines should consider routine testing for crew members.

The CDC also added new recommendations on aircraft cleaning this week, and said that airlines should report travelers with specific symptoms like fever and persistent cough, difficulty breathing or appearing obviously unwell to health officials.

"At this time, sustained (ongoing) person-to-person spread is occurring in several countries and many other countries have reported individual cases or limited community spread," health officials wrote in their latest guidance.

The updated recommendations come as more than 80 million coronavirus vaccines have been administered in the U.S. and the number of cases is down nationally over the past 30 days, according to CDC data.

But some health officials have said moves by states like Texas to remove mask mandates are coming too soon. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, said on Monday that "premature withdrawal of infection prevention precautions can cause a resurgence of viral transmission and threatens the hard-won progress that we have made towards ending the pandemic," Fox News previously reported.

This article originally appeared on Fox News

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