The big picture: Smartphone sales in China during the month of February were down nearly 55 percent year-over-year according to data from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT). Whether or not the situation improved in the near-term will depend on how consumers and the supply chain cope with the ongoing outbreak.

In total, just 6.34 million devices were sold in the region last month. For comparison, around 14 million phones were sold during the same period in 2019. It's the smallest number of phones sold in the month of February since CAICT started publishing data in 2012.

Delving deeper, we see that Android smartphone shipments tallied 5.85 million units in the region in February, down from 12.72 million in the year-ago quarter.

Shipments of iPhones fell to 494,000 from 1.27 million in February 2019 after holding steady at just over two million units in January.

Apple CEO Tim Cook in an internal memo this week said it was alright for employees at several global offices to work from home for the week of March 9 to March 13, should their job allow for it. Those with a cough or fever should avoid coming into work until they have recovered, Cook added.

The memo wasn't made public but Bloomberg still managed to get their hands on it. A spokesperson for the Cupertino-based company later confirmed the details in the memo.

Share value in Apple is down more than six percent on the day as of writing.

Masthead credit: Smartphones by Oleg Batrak. Apple image courtesy Aly Song, Reuters.