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14 Mar, 2020 10:43

Apple shuts all stores outside Greater China in coronavirus crackdown

Apple shuts all stores outside Greater China in coronavirus crackdown

Tech giant Apple has closed all its retail stores world wide, except those in Greater China, for the next two weeks, in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

The shops will remain shut until March 27 and staff in the company’s offices around the globe are moving to flexible hours. “That means team members should work remotely if their job allows, and those whose work requires them to be on site should follow guidance to maximize interpersonal space,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a letter on the company's website.

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In a further sign that China has weathered the worst of the virus, the silicon valley behemoth reopened all its branded stores in the country on Friday. Cook added in the letter that Apple’s donations to the global coronavirus response has reached $15 million. 

The outbreak originated in China late last year, but official figures show that the Asian country has stabilized the spread of the disease. Meanwhile, the number of cases in European countries has skyrocketed in recent weeks.

Nearly 140,000 people across the globe have been confirmed as having contracted the Covid-19 illness. The death toll surpassed 5,000 on Friday and the World Health Organization announced that the epicenter of the pandemic has shifted to Europe.

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