Why it matters: While the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across the rest of the world, epicenter China appears to have COVID-19 under control. The number of new infections has fallen to single digits, and in response to the improving situation, Apple has reopened all 42 of its branded retail stores.
At its height on February 13, China added 15,000 new coronavirus cases in one day. Yesterday, the country recorded the first single-digit rise—eight—in new infections since it started recording numbers in mid-January.
There was more reason to be optimistic today, with Wuhan city, the source of the outbreak, reporting just five new cases, down from eight the previous day, and no locally transmitted infections reported in the rest of the country.
While other countries impose measures to try and control the spread of the virus, China’s National Health Commission said the epidemic had passed its peak, helped by the world’s biggest mass quarantine implemented in the Hubei province. But the country could still see an uptick in infections as people return to work and there are new imported cases.
Apple closed all of its China stores in early February over coronavirus concerns, but they have been gradually reopening over the last few weeks. There are now 38 of the 42 outlets open again for business, with the final four opening today. The closures were one of the reasons Apple warned last month that it did not expect to meet its own revenue guidance for the second quarter. The temporary closure of its suppliers’ factories also affected the company’s bottom line.
While Apple stores have reopened in China, all 17 of its outlets in Italy have been closed as the country gets put on lockdown.