Apple has announced that it will be temporarily closing all stores outside of China until March 27, in response to mounting concern over the coronavirus pandemic.

CEO Tim Cook made the announcement yesterday in a letter posted to the company’s website. In the statement, Cook explained that these measures were part of a "global response" to quell the spread of the virus.

"The most effective way to minimize risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance," he wrote. "As rates of new infections continue to grow in other places, we’re taking additional steps to protect our team members and customers."

Employees affected by the store's closing will continue to be paid. Furthermore, Apple's online store and app will remain operational, and customers seeking customer support can visit support.apple.com.

Cook also announced that the company will be committing $15 million to aid recovery efforts.

Apple continues to reopen its China stores, which it closed soon after the initial outbreak of the coronavirus.

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