Apple closes Chinese stores due to coronavirus fears

Apple Inc. will close its corporate offices, stores and contact centers in mainland China through February 9, a move the company says comes out of an “abundance of caution and based on the latest advice from leading health experts.”

The move comes as global companies with heavy Chinese footprints weigh how to respond to the threat of the spreading coronavirus that has prompted worldwide concern but remains primarily concentrated in China, the country where it first surfaced.

Australia’s largest airline Qantas Airways Ltd. and Cebu Air Inc., the Philippines’ largest budget carrier, announced today they’d halt flights to China. Automakers Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. have evacuated workers from Wuhan, where the virus first surfaced, while Starbucks Corp. closed more than 2,000 locations in mainland China.

Apple is restricting employee travel to China to business-critical situations and it issued a revenue forecast that was wider than usual due to uncertainty surrounding the virus. The company said it would also increase the cleaning of its stores and take the temperature of retail workers.

The company said its online store in China will remain open even while its brick-and-mortar presence in China remains closed.

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Apple closes Chinese stores due to coronavirus fears