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Apple closes all stores outside China over coronavirus

Public spaces empty amid coronavirus fear
Public spaces, grocery stores empty amid coronavirus fears 03:00

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced Monday that the company is closing all of its stores outside China for two weeks amid the coronavirus pandemic. Stores in China will now reopen.

"In our workplaces and communities, we must do all we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Apple will be temporarily closing all stores outside of Greater China until March 27 and committing $15M to help with worldwide recovery," Cook said on Twitter

China has over 80,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. More than 50,000 of those cases have since recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

While the number of cases inside China has begun to plateau, cases outside of China have started to spike. Europe is now considered the "epicenter" of the coronavirus pandemic, and reported cases in the United States are expected to rise in the coming weeks.  

In a press release announcing the closures, Cook said all hourly workers "will continue to receive pay in alignment with business as usual operations." 

He also said it is matching employee donations to the global COVID-19 response fund "two-to-one." According to the press release, committed donations by the company had already reached $15 million worldwide. 

All Apple stores in China closed on February 1 in response to its outbreak. The company said in its press releasee that as of Friday, all stores in Greater China have reopened. 

"What we've learned together has helped us all develop the best practices that are assisting enormously in our global response," reads the press release. 

"There is no mistaking the challenge of this moment... We do not yet know with certainty when the greatest risk will be behind us."

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