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Apple shuts all stores in mainland China amid coronavirus outbreak

Filed on February 1, 2020

(Reuters)

The deadly coronavirus outbreak that has claimed 259 lives in China so far has led the iPhone maker to shut all its stores and offices in mainland China till February 9, the media reported on Saturday.

Apple is no longer just closing one store in China over coronavirus worries - it is closing them all.

The Cupertino-headquartered giant said in a statement on Saturday: "Our thoughts are with the people most immediately affected by the Coronavirus and with those working around the clock to study and contain it."

This comes at a time when the deadly novel coronavirus that originated in China is spreading panic worldwide and Chinese authorities have confirmed that the death toll from the coronavirus in the country has increased to 259, with 11,791 infected cases in 31 provincial-level regions.

However, it is not clear yet if the iPhone maker's Chinese factories, run by Foxconn, will also be downing shutters and more factory workers dismissed.

As of Tuesday, Foxconn said it would still be operating on a holiday schedule and didn't anticipate any impact in production, according to a report in the The Verge.

Earlier this week Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company has closed one of its retail stores in the Asian giant and has restricted employees' business travel to the country. Cook said that Apple is working very closely with its team and partners in the affected areas, and have limited travel to business critical situations "as of last week".

"The situation is emerging and we're still gathering lots of data points and monitoring it very closely. As Luca [Apple CFO Luca Maestri] had mentioned, we have a wider than usual revenue range for the second quarter due to the greater uncertainty," Cook told analysts during the earnings call on Tuesday.

Apple registered double-digit growth for iPhones in mainland China in its fiscal 2020 first quarter that ended on December 28, 2019. The company also had double-digit growth in services in mainland China and extremely strong double-digit on Wearables.

According to Cook, the company does have some suppliers in the Wuhan area - the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, Apple supplier Foxconn has warned staffers who were in Taiwan for the Chinese New Year not to return to its Wuhan plant.

According to a previous report in AppleInsider, Foxconn facility in Wuhan "could quickly become overrun with an outbreak, potentially putting workers at unnecessary risk and effectively shutting down production".

In addition to asking many employees to stay at home, the Taiwanese multinational electronics contract manufacturing firm has also enhanced employee health monitoring at the Wuhan factory.

- IANS


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