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(Pocket-lint) - Apple has announced it is closing every Apple Store worldwide outside of China as a result of the coronavirus.

In a statement signed by Tim Cook, it was also announced the company's stores in China have re-opened, which tells you all you need to know about the shifting epicentre of the virus. 

Apple says the move is designed to minimise risk of transmission and maximise social distance. "As rates of new infections continue to grow in other places, we’re taking additional steps to protect our team members and customers."

Employees will still receive pay and leave policies have been changed to include new circumstances caused by the coronavirus. 

Like many offices, Apple also says its office workers have moved to flexible work arrangements. The company adds that "those whose work requires them to be on site should follow guidance to maximize interpersonal space." There will also be health screenings for workers. 

On Friday Apple also announced that its annual developer conference in June would be online only, while Apple News also now has a dedicated section for coronavirus news, which is also what has happened on other news sites such as BBC News and CNN.

The company also said it has so far pledged $15 million worldwide to fight the pandemic. 

Writing by Dan Grabham. Originally published on 14 March 2020.