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Apple closing stores worldwide to prevent spread of Covid-19

Apple is closing all of its stores outside of Greater China until March 27 in a bid to prevent the spread of Covid-19 – the company is pledging to help with worldwide recovery

Apple is temporarily closing all its stores outside China in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The firm said the most effective way to minimise risk of the virus’s transmission is to “reduce density and maximise social distance”.

The tech giant’s CEO Tim Cook said: “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 15 million US dollars (£12.2 million) to help with worldwide recovery.”

It comes after the technology giant cancelled the in-person aspects of its annual developer conference in response to the outbreak.

The Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) had been due to take place in San Jose, California, in June, but will move to an “online format” instead of several days of public gatherings.

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

“We will be closing all of our retail stores outside of Greater China until March 27. We are committed to providing exceptional service to our 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.”

Apple reopened all 42 of its branded stores in China on Friday as the spread of the virus on mainland China slowed dramatically.

Countries around the world today continued to close borders, impose strict entry and quarantine requirements and restrict large gatherings in efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus.Countries have shuttered museums, tourist attractions and sporting events to minimise the risk of coronavirus transmission, with more than 138,000 people worldwide infected and more than 5,000 dead.

he World Health Organization (WHO) says Europe has become the pandemic’s current epicentre after reporting more cases and deaths than the rest of world combined, apart from China where the coronavirus originated last December.

Plans are under way to ban mass gatherings in the UK from next week as the Government looks to implement more extreme measures in the fight against Covid-19.

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