Apple closed all stores outside of China for almost two weeks, as industry players continue to take measures to minimise the risk of infection of the Covid-19 (coronavirus) respiratory disease.

CEO Tim Cook said in a letter the company “will be closing all of our retail stores outside of Greater China until March 27”, while announcing all 42 stores in China had reopened after closure in early February, noting the rate of “infections have dramatically declined”.

“The most effective way to minimise risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density 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”, Cook wrote.

Employees paid on an hourly rate will continue to receive payment. The company highlighted it had donated $15 million to treat those sick with the virus and contribute to efforts to lessen the economic impact of the disease.

The company last week shifted its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) to an online-only format. It previously warned a financial impact was inevitable due to disruption to manufacturing and retail operations.

T-Mobile US announced in a statement it will close stores in shopping centres, while Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said in a letter the operator will be closing a number of stores.