Apple Inc announced a temporary closure of stores, corporate offices and contact centres in China until February 9 amid mysterious coronavirus outbreak. The American tech giant’s decision to shut down the stores in China, its third-largest consumer market, will hit hard the business with the already affected tourism sector.
"Out of an abundance of caution and based on the latest advice from leading health experts, we're closing all our corporate offices, stores, and contact centers in mainland China through February 9," said the company in a statement.
"Our thoughts are with the people most immediately affected by the coronavirus and with those working around the clock to study and contain it," it added.
The company had already closed its stores in Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak. Earlier, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company will be donating to groups working on the ground to support those affected by the virus.
As people in China and around the world celebrate the Lunar New Year, we send our love and support to the many impacted by the Coronavirus. Apple will be donating to groups on the ground helping support all of those affected.— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) January 25, 2020
Meanwhile, several countries including India and the United States have started evacuating their citizens from the coronavirus-hit region of Wuhan and Hubei province. An Air India flight carrying 324 Indian citizens, with a majority of students, landed in Delhi on February 1. Indians who arrived at the Delhi airport will be taken to an Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) camp where they will be kept in isolation for 14 days for medical observation.
Another Air India flight has taken off for Wuhan to evacuate remaining citizens who gave their consent to leave Hubei Province for the time being. Indian Embassy in Beijing urged all Indian nationals living in Hubei province to contact the embassy through hotlines if they intend to avail the next flight.