Starbucks shutters shops in China’s Hubei Province amid coronavirus outbreak

Starbucks has shut down all shops and halted delivery services in China’s Hubei Province, as health officials scramble to contain a deadly coronavirus that originated from the provincial capital, Wuhan.

The coffee chain’s decision to suspend operations for the duration of the week-long Lunar New Year holiday was prompted by “health concerns” for its customers and employees, the company said in a social media post.

The move comes shortly after McDonald’s announced that it will halt operations in five cities in the province. The fast-food giant said the temporary closures were for “for employee and customer health and safety.”

Traced back to Wuhan, the outbreak has spread across China and has now reached Europe, the United States and Australia. Some 41 people in China have succumbed to the deadly virus, while an estimated 1,300 others have been infected worldwide.

Chinese authorities have expanded the quarantine of Wuhan to nearby cities, putting an unprecedented 36 million people on lockdown.

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