Since January, the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has spread around the world, and to date, it has had a significant impact on the development of Apple devices and smartphone sales in affected countries such as China, Italy, South Korea, the United States, and almost every other region. As the virus has continued to spread across the United States and other nations, it has led to some problems with production and supply, leading WWDC to be held for the first time as a digital-only case.
SARS-CoV-2 is a virus that surfaced in Wuhan, China in December 2019 in the coronavirus family, and the disease it causes is COVID-19. The virus is thought to have originated in a market for seafood where exotic animal meat was sold, although Chinese researchers have speculated that the origination occurred elsewhere and then spread to the market.
Irrespective of the place of SARS-CoV-2 origination, over 100,000 people have been infected with the virus and more than 3,500 have been killed, mostly in China. Now, it has spread to over 50 places across the world, including the United States, and there have been group transmission cases in the United States specifically, where medical professionals are unaware of how the virus was contracted.
In the Context of Apple
At Apple, they are people first, and they do what they do with the conviction that in a moment like this, technology will change lives and the expectation that it can be a powerful weapon. To make remote lessons come alive, teachers are innovating. Companies are experimenting with new ways of staying successful. And medical experts can diagnose diseases and, in the blink of an eye, hit millions with vital updates. In our own way, we are all adapting and reacting, and Apple wants to continue to play a role in helping people and communities to grow stronger.
But this global initiative takes all of our care, and all of our involvement, to protect the most vulnerable, research this virus, and care for the sick. And Apple needs you to be updated about the ways they do their part.
Apple's dedicated contributions to the global COVID-19 response today hit $15 million globally, both to help treat those who are sick and to help reduce the economic and community impacts of the pandemic.
They have also confirmed that they are matching their employee contributions two-to-one to support local, national, and foreign COVID-19 response efforts.
In Offices and Stores
First, in Greater China, Apple needs to remember the family of Apple. While the incidence of infections has decreased significantly, they know the effects of COVID-19 are still being strongly felt. Many of the stores in Greater China have reopened as of today. For their outstanding efforts to rebuild the supply chain, Apple wishes to thank their operations team and partners. What they've learned together has helped them all build the best practices that support the global response tremendously.
One of those lessons is that lowering density and maximizing social distance is the most efficient way to mitigate the risk of transmission of the virus. As rates of new infections continue to rise in other areas, additional measures are being taken to protect members and clients of their team.
Until March 27, all retail stores outside of Greater China were closed. They are dedicated to providing their clients with renowned service. Online stores are open at www.apple.com, or the Apple Store app can be downloaded from the App Store. Customers should visit help.apple.com for service and support. Their exceptional retail teams are committed to enriching the lives of their clients. To them, Apple is so thankful.
They are switching to flexible work conditions worldwide outside of Greater China in all of Apple's offices. The team members can work from home if their job allows, and advice to optimize interpersonal space for those who need them to be on site. At all locations, thorough, deep cleaning will continue. They are rolling out new health screenings and temperature checks in all workplaces.
As normal, all hourly staff will continue to earn pay in line with the industry. To accommodate personal or family health issues created by COVID-19, they have extended their leave policies, including recovery from an accident, caring for a sick loved one, compulsory quarantine, or childcare problems due to school closures.
On Sunday, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that the company is donating millions of masks to US and European healthcare professionals to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
Apple and other technology firms are working hard to help health workers fight the global pandemic that has infected more than 300,000 individuals worldwide.
A 'Coronavirus Knowledge Center' has also been launched by WhatsApp to provide easy, actionable advice for health workers, local governments, community leaders, educators, non-profits, and local businesses that depend on WhatsApp to connect.
The difficulty of this moment is not to be misunderstood. The entire Apple family is grateful to the worldwide courageous first responders, physicians, nurses, scientists, public health professionals who have given dedicated service to help people.
And yet the humanity and dedication it has seen from all corners of its global society have motivated Apple. As President Lincoln said in a time of great adversity - The potential is piled high with a challenge, and with the potential they have to rise. Since the situation is fresh, they have to think again and act again.
That's how Apple has always preferred to confront major challenges. And this is how they're going to get up to reach this one, too.