The coronavirus causing temporary corporate shutdowns



Soon after the Chinese New Year, Asia’s stock market recorded their worst day in years February 3 due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) originated in three patients from Wuhan, China in December 2019.  With the majority of cases in mainland China, the virus continued to spread rapidly, claiming 26 lives by January 22, then jumping to 80 deaths within five days.  Currently, there are over 1,800 deaths and more than 73,000 cases worldwide, according to  To prevent the virus from spreading further, Chinese authorities locked down many cities in China’s Hubei province.  Due to the virus’s proliferation, major corporations are warning customers that the coronavirus will adversely affect business operations for 2020, according to

The Leishenshan Hospital, an emergency field hospital, built in Wuhan, China, to handle coronavirus patients.  Courtesy of CNN

Wuhan is the capital city of China’s Hubei province with a population of 11 million.  In comparison, the city’s population is greater than New York City’s population of 8.6 million people.  As the death toll from the coronavirus increases, 18 countries are evacuating the majority of their citizens from Wuhan, according to The New York TimesThousands of travelers returning home from Wuhan will be quarantined for 14 days to avoid further contamination, according to

During one of the Sacred Heart Greenwich Chinese Club meetings, the club decided to start a fundraiser in the Upper School to help with the shortage of medical supplies in China because of the coronavirus.  The heads of the club are juniors Grace Coale, Sasha Rivera, Lily Santangelo, and Beth Yeager.  The members of the club include juniors Lianna Amoruso, Ceci Duncan, Grace Hong, Sasha Kalinichenko, Mary Marshall, Caitlin McCormack, Eloise Moulton, Fatima Scheggia.

Vans lined up waiting to transport goods into Wuhan, China after the city shut down.  Courtesy of Chinese Embassy in Uganda

“In our club meeting, we were discussing the significant shortage of medical supplies in China and particularly in Wuhan due to the coronavirus and we learned that hospitals are turning people away because they do not have the supplies to treat them,” Lily said.  “We all felt that we should help and raise money.”

The Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), an organization that represents the interests of mobile network operators, canceled the Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona conference, one of the world’s largest technology trade shows, due to concerns about the coronavirus.

MWC Barcelona brings representatives of major technology companies to launch products and discuss potential deals and partnerships.  The event draws over 100,000 people from across the world.  Many major corporations pulled out of the trade show prior to its cancelation for safety precautions, according to The New York Times

GSMA posted a statement further explaining the reasoning behind the cancelation. 

“With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has canceled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event,” GSMA said, according to

The virus outbreak coincided with earnings season, when the majority of publicly traded companies release their financial results for the end of the year.  Early in the month of February, major technology companies announced they would temporarily shut down corporate offices, manufacturing factories, and retail stores across China. 

Mr. Elon Musk, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Tesla, an American electric vehicle and clean energy company, recognized the deliveries of the first China-made Model 3 electric cars manufactured from a new Shanghai Gigafactory January 7.  One month later, the company alerted customers about delayed deliveries through early February as government guidelines are forcing the factory to remain closed.  Shareholder expectations of major market share gains for Tesla’s new plant in China will have to wait for their investments to pay off, according to  

The Walt Disney Company, an American multinational mass media and entertainment company, closed its Shanghai and Hong Kong theme parks.  The closure was at a time when the theme park sees one of its highest attendance rates because of the Chinese New Year holiday, according to

Another large conglomerate with major manufacturing operations in China is Apple Incorporated, an American multinational technology company with four corporate customers and 26 suppliers, according to  The shut down of Apple’s manufacturing facilities will halt production causing Apple to fall short of their quarter’s target sales and drag their inventory availability to later in the year, according to The New York Times

A shopper walks past empty shelves at a grocery store in Hong Kong. Courtesy of CNN

International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation, an American information technology company and partner of Sacred Heart, is the first major company to withdraw as a sponsor for this year’s Rivest, Shamir, and Adleman (RSA) Conference 2020 because of the coronavirus.  The RSA Conference is the largest cybersecurity conference in the world.  In 2019, 42,500 people attended the conference for keynote addresses, a week’s worth of networking and social events, and over 550 educational sessions, according to

The RSA Conference, located in San Francisco, California will still take place February 23 to February 28 as scheduled.  Mr. Edward Barbini, Vice President of Corporate Communications & External Relations at IBM, commented on IBM’s plans for safety with managing the virus outbreak.

“IBM is taking precautions in travel in relation to the coronavirus because the safety of the company’s employees is IBM’s first priority,” Mr. Barbini said.

Featured Image Courtesy of CNN