US technology company Apple has temporarily closed all of its 42 retail stores in China as coronavirus continues to spread.
The Financial Times has reported that Apple will also close mainland corporate offices, stores and contact centres in China for at least eight days.
Apple is quoted as saying: “Our thoughts are with the people most immediately affected by the coronavirus and with those working around the clock to study and contain it.
“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 centres in mainland China through 9 February.”
Meanwhile, the retailer said it will keep track of the situation in the Asian country and looks forward to reopening its stores as soon as possible. Apple’s online retail operations will remain active.
Last week, the company shut one of its retail locations in China, citing the virus as the reason. Due to the uncertainty of the virus, the company also projected revenue between $63bn and $67bn for the quarter that ends in March.
The Chinese market accounted for 20% of Apple’s net sales in 2018. Apple has a workforce of 10,000 people in China.
The temporary closures will impact the company’s revenues as sales are expected to reduce.
Coronavirus is believed to have originated from a wholesale seafood market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
The virus affects the respiratory tract and could cause illnesses such as pneumonia or bronchitis.
Wuhan is the capital city of the Hubei province. The death toll has increased to 350 in the province.
Over 2,100 new cases and an additional 56 deaths have been confirmed within the Hubei province, according to the Hubei Provincial Health Committee.
This takes the total cases confirmed in the region to 11,000.