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Apple shuts all stores Outside China due to Covid-19

Apple is to close all its shops outside China for the next two weeks to combat the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The company, which has hundreds of outlets worldwide including dozens in the UK, said it was shutting in an effort to minimise the transmission of the disease.

The firm’s chief executive, Tim Cook, said: “We must do all we can to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”

Apple stores in China, where coronavirus originated, reopened on Saturday and will be exempt from the shutdown as new cases in the country are slowing.

Apple has already shifted its appearance at the Worldwide Developer Conference in California in June to an online format instead of several days of public gatherings.

Cook tweeted: “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 27 March and committing $15M (£12.25m) to help with worldwide recovery.”

In a statement, the company added: “As rates of new infections continue to grow in other places, we’re taking additional steps to protect our team members and customers.

“In all of our offices, we are moving to flexible work arrangements worldwide outside of Greater China. 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 maximise interpersonal space.

“Extensive deep cleaning will continue at all sites. In all our offices, we are rolling out new health screenings and temperature checks. All of our hourly workers will continue to receive pay in alignment with business-as-usual operations.

“We have expanded our leave policies to accommodate personal or family health circumstances created by Covid-19 – including recovering from an illness, caring for a sick loved one, mandatory quarantining, or childcare challenges due to school closures.”