German sportswear giant Adidas closes China stores over coronavirus outbreak

German sportswear firm Adidas says it's closing a "significant" number of its stores in China over the deadly new coronavirus, and warned it expects further impacts on its operations in the country.

German sportswear giant Adidas closes China stores over coronavirus outbreak
Researchers in a Disease Prevention and Control Centre lab in Nanyang, China. Photo: DPA.

The outbreak that has infected over 24,000 people and killed nearly 500 in mainland China has forced many stores and factories to close and airlines to cancel flights.

Following in the footsteps of US rival Nike, Adidas announced “the closure of a significant number of our own stores in the country”.

Many of its franchises were doing the same, the Bavarian firm added.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about the coronavirus in Germany

Adidas has around 500 of its own stores in China and some 11,500 outlets in franchise stores.

“We can confirm that we are currently experiencing a negative impact on our operations in China,” the statement added.

“However, at this point in time it is too early to assess the magnitude of this impact.”

Nike on Tuesday also said it expected the worsening outbreak of the virus to have “a material impact” on its Chinese business.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus in Bavaria – how the German state is dealing with the spread of the virus

There are currently 10 cases of the virus reported in Germany.

At the weekend Bavaria's Health Ministry reported two additional cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total in the southern state to 8, and Germany-wide to 10.

The Bavarian car parts supplier Webasto, where the first case was detected, announced that it had given out 139 tests to employees for the virus.

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Is the pandemic over in Germany?

As much of Germany lifts - or prepares to lift - the last remaining Covid-19 measures, intensive care units say Covid-19 admissions are no longer straining the system.

Is the pandemic over in Germany?

Despite a difficult winter of respiratory illnesses, intensive care units in Germany say Covid-19 admissions have almost halved. The number of cases having to be treated in the ICU has gone down to 800 from 1,500 at the beginning of this month.

“Corona is no longer a problem in intensive care units,” Gernot Marx, Vice President of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, told the German Editorial Network. “A the moment, we don’t have to think every day about how to still ensure the care of patients, but how to actually run a service that can help.”

Marx said the drop has allowed them to catch up on many postponed surgeries.

The number of sick employees in hospitals is also falling, helping to relieve the pressure on personnel.

The easing pressure on hospitals correlates with the assessment of prominent virologist and head of the Virology department at Berlin’s Charite – Christian Drosten – who said in December that the pandemic was close to ending, with the winter wave being an endemic one.

German federal and state governments are now in the midst of lifting the last of the country’s pandemic-related restrictions. Free Covid-19 antigen tests for most people, with exceptions for medical personnel, recently ended.

READ ALSO: Free Covid-19 tests end in Germany

Six federal states – Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Hessen, Thuringia, Lower Saxony, and Schleswig-Holstein – have ended mandatory isolation periods for people who test positive for Covid-19.

Bavaria, Saxony-Anhalt, and Schleswig-Holstein have ended the requirement to wear FFP2 masks on public transport, while Berlin, Brandenburg, Saxony, Thuringia, and Mecklenburg-West Pomerania will follow suit on February 2nd.

At that time, the federal government will also drop its requirement for masks to be worn on long-distance trains. Labour Minister Hubertus Heil says that’s when he also intends to exempt workplaces – apart from medical locations – from a mask requirement.

READ ALSO: Germany to drop mask mandate in trains and buses from February 2nd

Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg will also end the requirement for patients to wear a mask in doctor’s offices. That’s a requirement that, so far, will stay in place everywhere else. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has also said that he thinks this requirement should remain. 

But some public health insurers and general practitioners are calling for a nationwide end to the obligation for wearing masks in doctor’s offices.

“The pandemic situation is over,” National Association of Statutory Health Physicians (KBV) Chair Andreas Gassen told the RND network. “High-risk patients aren’t treated in all practices. It should generally be left up to medical colleagues to decide whether they want to require masks in their practices.”