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Burger King has temporarily closed nearly half of its restaurants in China due to growing concerns over the deadly coronavirus outbreak in the country.
The move was confirmed by the Restaurant Brands International, the parent company of the American fast-food restaurant chain.
Burger King has around 1,300 locations in China.
Restaurant Brands International CEO Jose Cil was quoted by Bloomberg as saying: “Most of the closures are being driven by local regulations. In some cases, malls are closing.”
The company is yet to determine the extent of the impact. However, it is anticipating a hit on its performance.
Cil added: “It’s too early to tell what impact, if any, it’s going to have on short-term performance or results.”
Burger King is not the first restaurant chain to shut its outlets in China due to the ongoing outbreak.
Yum China shut more than 30% of its stores temporarily as a step to prevent person-to-person transmission of the virus. Yum China is a licensee of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell brands in China.
Coffeehouse chain Starbucks has also closed around 2,000 restaurants and reduced operating hours in the Chinese market.
Both Yum China and Starbucks also warned of a significant impact on sales due to the outbreak.
Other US restaurant chains such as McDonald’s and KFC have also closed hundreds of their stores in China.
Meanwhile, the death toll from the new coronavirus reached 1,115 at the end of 11 February. The total number of infections exceeded 45,100.