Apple to temporarily close all stores in China amid coronavirus outbreak

Apple to temporarily close all stores in China amid coronavirus outbreak
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Apple announced Saturday it will shutter all of its stores and corporate offices across mainland China until Feb. 9 amid mounting fears over the coronavirus outbreak.

“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 centers in mainland China through February 9,” Apple said in a statement.

The tech giant said it was looking forward to reopening stores “as soon as possible.” 

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The move comes after Apple initially closed three stores in China over concerns about the virus’ spread. Other business behemoths like Starbucks and McDonald’s have also temporarily shuttered their stores in China as precautionary measures. 

Apple relies heavily on China for both smartphone sales and manufacturing, with a number of suppliers in Wuhan, the epicenter of the latest outbreak, according to Reuters.

The latest coronavirus outbreak has infected nearly 10,000 people worldwide, with most of the cases remaining or originating in China. Twelve individuals in six countries have contracted the virus but did not travel to China.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified six cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. Five of the patients had recently returned to the U.S. after traveling in China, while the sixth case, announced Thursday, was the first person-to-person spread of the virus in the U.S. 

The death toll from the outbreak has topped 250, according to several estimates.