Apple closes all stores outside China until March 27 on coronavirus worries

Apple closes all stores outside China until March 27 on coronavirus worries

Hours after Apple moved its annual developers conference online, the company now says it will close all of its stores outside of Greater China on coronavirus worries.

Apple Stores around the globe will close until March 27, the company said. It also encouraged employees to work from home and said it has committed $15 million to help with recovery efforts. It will also match donations made directly by employees.

“In our workplaces and communities, we must do all we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted late Friday. In a note posted on Apple’s newsroom, Cook said hourly workers would continue to be paid during the store closures.

The coronavirus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. The virus, known as 2019-nCoV, was reported to the World Health Organization on Dec. 31 and has been under investigation since. Chinese scientists have linked the disease to a family of viruses known as coronaviruses, which include the deadly SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome. The WHO has labeled the coronavirus a pandemic.

The disease has now spread to the US and caused President Donald J. Trump on Friday to declare a state of emergency. Schools have closed, Broadway has gone done and various other events and sporting events have been canceled or delayed. More than 1,600 coronavirus cases have been reported in the US, and there’s still a shortage of tests for the virus.