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Sat 14 Mar 2020 01:44 PM

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Apple to shut UAE stores to slow spread of virus

US tech giant says UAE stores will close until March 27 as part of global shutdown following coronavirus outbreak

Apple to shut UAE stores to slow spread of virus

Apple is closing all of its stores in the UAE until March 27 as part of a global shutdown in a bid to slow the spread of the new coronavirus outbreak.

CEO Tim Cook said all shops, apart from those in China, will close, adding that the firm had learned from steps taken in China, where the tech giant has just reopened its retail stores.

In the UAE, Apple operates stores in Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates in Dubai and Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi.

"One of those lessons is that the most effective way to minimize risk of the virus's transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance," he said in a statement Friday.

"As rates of new infections continue to grow in other places, we're taking additional steps to protect our team members and customers."

Apple's online store would remain open but office staff outside China would be working remotely if possible, Cook added.

The California-based firm has about 500 stores in 24 countries around the world.

Despite the closures, Cook said hourly workers would continue to be paid as normal.

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