Health, Economy

IKEA closes China branches amid coronavirus outbreak

Swedish furniture giant temporarily closes 30 branches across China, asking staff to remain at home until further notice

Dilara Hamit   | 30.01.2020
IKEA closes China branches amid coronavirus outbreak


Swedish furniture giant IKEA closed 30 of its branches in China as the coronavirus outbreak continues in the country. 

Releasing a statement, the company underlined that the closure was temporary and that its 14,000 employees were asked to remain home with paid leave until further notice.

Reportedly spreading to every province in China, the coronavirus originated in the city of Wuhan and has caused at least 170 deaths in China, while over 7,700 others were infected

IKEA on Wednesday announced that it was closing almost half of its branches in China, including Wuhan, and shortening working hours.

In the wake of the coronavirus -- so named because it resembles a crown when viewed under a microscope, with corona meaning Latin for crown -- cities have been quarantined and China is building a 1,000-bed hospital to treat those who have contracted the virus.

The virus, manifesting in pneumonia-like symptoms, has spread to major cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Singapore and the U.S. have also confirmed cases of the virus while Australia is testing one person for it.

North Korea has temporarily closed its borders with China as a precaution following the outbreak, according to the South Korean Yonhap news agency.

The World Health Organization postponed a decision to declare the virus a global health emergency, saying physicians needed more information.

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