Apple closes all stores in China over mounting coronavirus worries

The iPhone maker has temporarily shut down all its retail stores and offices across mainland China till February 10 as part of preemptive measures amid the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.

The measure came into force on Saturday, but some stores were still open on that day, according to the company’s website. Starting on Sunday all the shops will be closed until midnight February 9. However, online store in China remains open.

Some stores were already closed since earlier this week, including the ones in the cities of Qingdao, Fuzhou and Nanjing. Apple also restricted employee travel to the country, while multinational companies like Facebook and JP Morgan also suspended business trips to China, or limited it to critical operations.

Apple’s key supplier, China-based Foxconn, said that business is running as normal despite the virus outbreak. The company assured that it has all the measures in place to “ensure that we can continue to meet all global manufacturing obligations.”

Some of Chinese provinces, municipalities and regions recommended businesses to prolong the Chinese New Year holidays and resume operations on February 10 at the earliest due to public health concerns. Most companies based in the country’s capital Beijing were reportedly told to postpone reopening until that date in order to prevent the spread of a new coronavirus.

To help those affected by the epidemic and mitigate damages for firms, the People’s Bank of China vowed on Saturday to provide financial support and cut lending rates. The central bank stressed that the impact of the outbreak on the broad economy should be temporary.

This novel coronavirus, that originated in the end of last year in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has led to more than 250 deaths as of Saturday, while the number of cases surpassed 10,000.