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Coronavirus: Apple to close all shops in China amid fears over deadly outbreak

McDonald’s and Starbucks stores also shut as precautionary measure

Samuel Osborne
Saturday 01 February 2020 18:01 GMT
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Iphone availability could be hit by rise of coronavirus

Apple has said it will close all of its stores and offices in mainland China until the end of next week amid fears over the coronavirus outbreak.

The death toll from the deadly infection has risen to nearly 260 and the number of confirmed cases was approaching 12,000 on Saturday.

“Out of an abundance of caution and based on the latest advice from leading health experts, we’re closing all our corporate offices, stores, and contact centres in mainland China through 9 February,” Apple said in a statement.

The company said it looked forward to re-opening stores “as soon as possible”.

Several other companies, such as Starbucks and McDonald’s, have also temporarily shut stores in China.

Meanwhile, other companies have called for employees in China to work from home and avoid non-essential business travel.

Sweden’s Ikea, Walmart and other companies have also restricted travel and operations.

Earlier this week, Apple closed three stores in China due to concerns about the spread of the virus.

The company remains heavily reliant on China both for smartphone sales as well as for its supply chain and manufacturing.

Many factories in Hubei province, including plants run by AB InBev and General Motors Co, have temporarily suspended production due to the virus.

In a recent earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company was working out mitigation plans to deal with possible production loss from its suppliers in Wuhan. The city where the virus outbreak originated is home to several Apple suppliers.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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