Apple's Victoria Square Store in Belfast Reportedly Undergoes Deep Clean Amid COVID-19 Contamination Fears [Update: Fake]

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Apple's Victoria Square retail store in Belfast, Northern Ireland reportedly closed its doors early on Wednesday to undergo a deep clean, following suspicions of a coronavirus contamination in the local area.


Video shared on Facebook appeared to capture a clean-up operation taking place at the store. In the clip, two people wearing breathable isolation suits can be seen wiping the Sequoia wood tables, which appear to have been cleared of products.

An anonymous tipster told MacRumors that all devices were removed from the store and the shop floor was still empty as of 8:10 a.m. local time on Thursday morning. A call to the store confirmed that Apple Victoria Square is now open, however staff declined to confirm or deny that a decontamination had taken place overnight. We've reached out to Apple for comment and will update this article if we learn more.

Two more cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Northern Ireland on Wednesday, with one a postgraduate student at Queen's University in Belfast. The student had recently returned from Italy and mixed with others at university. The other adult had been in contact with someone in the U.K. who had tested positive for COVID-19.

It's not clear if specific information relating to the movements of the infected adults led to a deep clean of Apple Victoria Square. Whether a decision was taken by Apple itself or was undertaken as part of broader contingency measures by local government to mitigate the spread of the virus remains unknown.

The latest positive tests took the total number of cases in the region to three, none of which are thought to be linked. The United Kingdom as a whole had its biggest day-on-day increase in coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number to 87. There are 80 in England, three in Scotland, and one in Wales. The British government's response to coronavirus is already moving into its second "delay" phase, rather than seeking to simply "contain" the disease.

Apple Victoria Store reportedly underwent a deep clean Wednesday night

Apple has temporarily closed some of its retail stores in Italy following a government decree, as the country grapples with the spread of COVID-19. The number of deaths has surged in Italy, which is now the country with the most deaths in the world outside of China, where the viral outbreak originated.

Apple closed all 42 of its retail stores in China at the beginning of February as the outbreak in China worsened, but most of the stores have re-opened, albeit operating with shortened hours. New infections and deaths reported in China have been declining in recent weeks, according to government data, suggesting the virus may have peaked there. There were 119 new confirmed cases in China on March 3, compared with 125 the day before.

In the U.S., the death toll from COVID-19 climbed to 11 on Wednesday, while California has declared a state of emergency because of the spread of the virus after it reported its first fatality. The death was of an elderly man with underlying health issues. The state now has 53 confirmed cases. It was the first death from the outbreak in the U.S. outside of Washington state.

Meanwhile, Apple has pulled out of the SXSW 2020 Film Festival to be held later this month in Austin, Texas. The company planned to premiere new original content coming to Apple TV+, but will no longer attend because of ongoing concerns. Organizers said last month that the event would proceed as planned despite some cancellations related to the virus.

We're still waiting to hear news regarding the fate of this year's Worldwide Developers Conference, which usually takes place in San Jose, California. Apple has not announced dates for WWDC 2020, but based on past events, June 8 to June 12 are the likely dates that Apple is targeting.

Apple may still have some time before it makes a decision about whether to cancel WWDC this year due to coronavirus concerns, but with Facebook and Google both canceling May events, current circumstances aren't looking favorable.

Update: Apple has informed MacRumors that a deep clean did not take place at Apple Victoria Square on Wednesday night. The video shows a routine retail restoration which took place before the spread of COVID-19, although Apple did acknowledge that all of its stores are receiving regular enhanced cleaning in light of the viral outbreak.

Article Link: Apple's Victoria Square Store in Belfast Reportedly Undergoes Deep Clean Amid COVID-19 Contamination Fears [Update: Fake]
 
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PeterBloch

macrumors newbie
Dec 30, 2017
4
24
MacRumors should immediately remove this article. You KNOW it is fake news. Putting an after-the-fact tag on it saying it is fake only helps a little.... there is nothing useful in this article, it only sows the seeds of misinformation
 

timmyh

Contributing Editor
Mar 18, 2016
137
215
Liverpool, UK
MacRumors should immediately remove this article. You KNOW it is fake news. Putting an after-the-fact tag on it saying it is fake only helps a little.... there is nothing useful in this article, it only sows the seeds of misinformation
The article was published in good faith and immediately updated when Apple officially confirmed that the video was not what it seemed. The original tweet that went out with the report was deleted, because we cannot edit tweets. But removing the article would be disingenuous and could even suggest that we were trickling out misinformation and then removing its source to deceive.

Surely keeping the article online and updated to reflect it has been debunked is the best way to counter "fake news"?
 
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Arran

macrumors 601
Mar 7, 2008
4,441
3,005
Atlanta, USA
The article was published in good faith and immediately updated when Apple officially confirmed that the video was not what it seemed. The original tweet that went out with the report was deleted, because we cannot edit tweets. But removing the article would be disingenuous and could even suggest that we were trickling out misinformation and then removing its source to deceive.

Surely keeping the article online and updated to reflect it has been debunked is the best way to counter "fake news"?
Maybe take it off the front page and bury a retraction somewhere less prominent - but where it can still be found (to prevent allegations of a cover-up)
 

GDF

macrumors 6502a
Jun 7, 2010
583
293
This article should be gone and very poor journalism to keep it displayed. Tired of hearing about the virus. Total media hype. So it is a flu, why is everything closing and stopping because of a flu? We do not do that with normal flu, so why this? Someone needs to explain that, as this is crazy!
 
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Aston441

macrumors 65816
Sep 16, 2014
1,464
2,097
This article should be gone and very poor journalism to keep it displayed. Tired of hearing about the virus. Total media hype. So it is a flu, why is everything closing and stopping because of a flu? We do not do that with normal flu, so why this? Someone needs to explain that, as this is crazy!
Because it is 30x or more deadly than the flu? And no one has any previous immunity developed, unlike actual influenza?
 

GDF

macrumors 6502a
Jun 7, 2010
583
293
No sure about that. Still very small death rate so far. Don’t believe all the media hype. If you do, you will be so cared you won’t do anything. Percentage or two difference is not 30x more deadly. So, unless you are a doctor who specializes in diseases, then no one on this forum should be saying anything about stats, as you are spreading misinformation!
 

gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
16,940
3,767
No sure about that. Still very small death rate so far. Don’t believe all the media hype. If you do, you will be so cared you won’t do anything. Percentage or two difference is not 30x more deadly. So, unless you are a doctor who specializes in diseases, then no one on this forum should be saying anything about stats, as you are spreading misinformation!
The death rate is currently low because the number of infected people is still growing strongly, it takes say 14 days to die (if you die), so to calculate the death rate in percent you shouldn't calculate (number died) / (number infected) * 100, but (number died) / (number infected two weeks ago) * 100.
 

CarlJ

macrumors 601
Feb 23, 2004
4,352
7,085
San Diego, CA, USA
The article was published in good faith and immediately updated when Apple officially confirmed that the video was not what it seemed. The original tweet that went out with the report was deleted, because we cannot edit tweets. But removing the article would be disingenuous and could even suggest that we were trickling out misinformation and then removing its source to deceive.

Surely keeping the article online and updated to reflect it has been debunked is the best way to counter "fake news"?
Keeping the article online is definitely worthwhile. However, the usual "Update: other information" at the end seems maybe a little hard to notice to the (very casual just skimming) observer. But given that the affected topic this time is public safety/health, rather than some rumored product, I'd argue that it might be warranted in this case to make the update much more visible - say, put a bold paragraph at the front of the article noting that it has been proven to be untrue. Actively stamping out untrue rumors on this can have an actual effect on people's lives.
- - Post merged: - -

Tired of hearing about the virus. Total media hype. So it is a flu, why is everything closing and stopping because of a flu? We do not do that with normal flu, so why this? Someone needs to explain that, as this is crazy!
There are flu's and then there are flu's. There was one 100 years ago that killed millions. It's a question of what percentage of people who get it will die, and of how easily it spreads from person to person. This one seems to score considerably higher than normal on both accounts. I don't pay a lot of attention to the media hype (and even less to armchair analysts), but I do pay attention to the words and actions of public health officials around the world. They're concerned, so I'm concerned. Particularly here in the US, where the administration seems to be having an uninformed politically motivated response, putting a VP in charge rather that putting the public health officials - the scientists and doctors - in charge. China shut down large portions of their economy to combat this - that's not something they do just for fun. They appear to be getting this under some measure of control, but only by taking actions that much of the rest of the world is not prepared to do. So, I am concerned about how this will play out.
 
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