Apple Partners With Laurene Powell Jobs, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Others to Launch America’s Food Fund

Apple, Laurene Powell Jobs, Leonardo DiCaprio, and the Ford Foundation have partnered to launch America's Food Fund, an initiative aimed at helping to ensure that all people have reliable access to food in the United States.


The initiative is being hosted by fundraising platform GoFundMe and will benefit the non-profit hunger-relief organizations World Central Kitchen and Feeding America. Apple, Powell Jobs, DiCaprio, and the Ford Foundation have donated a combined $12 million to kickstart the fund, with further donations being accepted from the public.

World Central Kitchen is led by world-renowned chef José Andrés, who recently spoke with Oprah Winfrey and Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot about this initiative on her free-to-watch Apple TV+ series "Oprah Talks COVID-19."

Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement shared by Deadline:
No one can be well if they're not well fed, and we can only overcome this crisis if we make sure that every person has the essentials that they need to care for themselves, their families and the vulnerable people in their lives. World Central Kitchen and Feeding America do heroic work, and if there is any lesson in this time that we must spend apart, it's that we are stronger and more resilient when we support one another.
Prior to the ongoing pandemic, America's Food Fund says more than 37 million people struggled to know where their next meal might come from on a daily basis, a number that it says is now rising at an exponential rate. Donate here.
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Apple’s Pandemic Recovery Donation to China More Than Doubles to $7 Million

Apple has more than doubled its donation to China's virus recovery efforts, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced on Chinese social networking site Weibo today (via Reuters).


Apple has now donated more than 50 million yuan ($7 million) to the country, which will be used to support long-term public health recovery efforts.
China has shown incredible spirit and resilience during the COVID-19 outbreak and we are grateful to our teams, partners and customers for their support during these challenging times. In addition to the 20 million yuan contribution we made with CFPA to support Lei Shen Shan and five other hospitals in the Hubei area, we are supporting longer-term public health recovery efforts. Our total commitment to CFPA is now above 50 million yuan. Around the world, the essential, collaborative response fighting the virus continues, and we are especially grateful to all the medical responders in China, and around the world, who are inspiring us all with their selflessness and courage.
Apple's stores in China were closed for much of February, but have since reopened. The 42 stores in China are the only Apple Stores in the world that are open right now, as Apple has closed every other retail location in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. Some of the stores are expected to start reopening in April, but on a staggered basis and in areas less impacted by the coronavirus.

Apple has also made extensive donations in the United States and Europe. Last week, Cook announced that Apple has been able to source and donate more than 10 million N95 masks for healthcare workers in the U.S.
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U.S. Government Using Mobile Ad Location Data to Track Compliance With Curbs on Movement

The U.S. government is using smartphone location data from the mobile ad industry to track people's movements amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to a Wall Street Journal report.


Local governments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have received the anonymized data about people in areas of "geographic interest," with the aim being to create a portal of geolocation information for 500 cities across the country.

The information will be used to learn how well people are complying with stay-at-home orders, according to WSJ. Citing an example, the report says researchers discovered large numbers of people were gathering in a New York City park, which led them to notify local authorities.

Even though the data is anonymized, WSJ says that privacy advocates want "strong legal safeguards" to limit how it can be used, in order to prevent its use for other purposes. Cellular carriers told the news outlet they have not been asked by the government to provide location data.

The development follows reports of other countries using cellphone data to monitor citizens and see if they are complying with curbs on movement to defeat the viral outbreak.

European mobile carriers have reportedly been sharing data with health authorities in Italy, Germany and Austria, while at the same time respecting Europe's privacy laws. Earlier this month, Israel passed emergency measures that allow security agencies to track the smartphone data of people with suspected COVID-19 and find others they may have come into contact with.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.
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UK Telecoms Providers Remove All Data Caps on Home Broadband Services

Britain's big telecoms providers have agreed to lift the data caps on all fixed-line broadband services to help people isolated at home following the coronavirus epidemic, reports Reuters.


The companies, which include BT, Virgin Media, Sky, O2, Vodafone, Three, and TalkTalk, committed to support and protect vulnerable customers during the pandemic following talks with the government and telecoms regulator Ofcom.

The ISPs are also introducing additional measures, which include helping customers who find it difficult to pay bills because of the viral outbreak, improving mobile and landline packages, and prioritizing repairs for vulnerabile customers.
"It is essential that people stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. This package helps people to stay connected whilst they stay home," Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said in the government statement.
The U.K. government last week imposed strict measures on public movement, including social distancing, a ban on gatherings of more than two people, and the closure of all shops selling non-essential goods.

People have also been told they should only leave the house to shop for basic necessities, exercise, medical needs and traveling to work if they can't work from home. The measures are expect to remain in place for at least 13 weeks, and possibly longer.
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Apple Launches COVID-19 Website and App With Screening Tool and Resources

Apple today announced that it has released a new COVID-19 website and iPhone app with a screening tool and other resources to help people stay informed and take the proper steps to protect their health during the spread of the novel coronavirus. Apple partnered with the CDC, the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and FEMA on this initiative.


The website and ap allow users to answer a series of questions regarding risk factors, recent exposure, and symptoms and receive CDC recommendations on next steps, including guidance on social distancing and self-isolating, how to closely monitor symptoms, whether or not a test is recommended at this time, and when to contact a medical provider.

Apple says its screening tool does not replace instructions from healthcare providers or guidance from state and local health authorities.

The website and app also offer access to COVID-19 resources to help people stay informed and get support. Users will receive answers to frequently asked questions about the virus, including who is most at risk and how to recognize symptoms.

Apple says any data that users provide in the COVID-19 app will not be shared with Apple, the CDC, or anyone without explicit permission.
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WhatsApp and Amazon Alexa Launch Coronavirus Information Services

The British government this week launched a coronavirus information service on WhatsApp to help users access information about the disease from their smartphones.

WhatsApp users in the U.K. can access the service by tapping this link. Alternatively, start a new chat in WhatsApp, select New Contact, and add the number (+44) 7860 064422 to the Mobile field. The number will appear at the bottom of your contacts. Tap it, and when the chat window opens, text the word "hi" to activate the service.

Along with providing links to the U.K. government's latest COVID-19 guidance and the NHS website for health advice, the service allows users to reply with a number from 1 to 9 to find out more about the following topics related to COVID-19:
  1. What is coronavirus?

  2. Prevention.

  3. Symptoms.

  4. Stay at home.

  5. Travel.

  6. Latest numbers.

  7. Mythbusters.

  8. Share.

  9. More information.
In the U.S., Amazon says Alexa users can now use the voice assistant to help initial diagnosis of possible COVID-19 cases. Queries like "Alexa, what should I do if I think I have coronavirus?" prompts the voice assistant to ask about symptoms, travel history, and possible exposure to the virus. Based on your responses, Alexa will provide guidance based on official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information.

As we reported last week, iPhone users who ask Siri about coronavirus can complete a questionnaire about their symptoms and potential exposure to the virus to better understand their health situation. Apple says the answers are sourced from the CDC and U.S. Public Health Service, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services.
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Apple Adds British Government Coronavirus PSA to UK App Store

U.K. iPhone and iPad users who open the App Store this morning are being met with a COVID-19 public service announcement from the British government, signaling an expansion of Apple's efforts to prominently display official coronavirus alerts on its devices.


Tapping on the prioritized card takes users to an NHS app link and a video containing coronavirus protection guidance from the UK government's chief medical officer, professor Chris Whitty:
To help save lives, stay at home. Anyone can spread coronavirus. You should now only go out when absolutely necessary, for food, medicine, work, or exercise. Always try to stay two meters apart. Do not meet others outside your household – even friends and family.

Stay Home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives.
The ‌App Store‌ is an unfamiliar home for a PSA – Apple News would be the normal location for this kind of content – but Apple is obviously trying to get out the official guidance to as many users as possible, including anyone browsing for new apps and updates on their devices.

In the U.S., Apple began displaying White House public service announcements at the top of the ‌App Store‌ on March 21, offering official guidance on the "dos and don'ts" of social distancing. Users in other countries are also likely to see similar advice from their national governments.

This is just the latest of several other measures that Apple is taking in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apple said earlier this month that it is critically evaluating coronavirus-related apps submitted to the ‌App Store‌ to ensure data sources are reputable and that developers presenting these apps are from recognized entities such as government organizations, health-focused NGOs, companies deeply credentialed in health issues, and medical or educational institutions.
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iPhone Production in India Suspended as Population of 1.3 Billion Begins 21-Day Lockdown

Apple's iPhone factories in India are closing temporarily, after the Indian government ordered the country's population of 1.3 billion people to stay at home for at least three weeks in a bid to reduce the spread of coronavirus.


The factories in India have suspended production until at least April 14 following the nationwide lockdown ordered by President by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As reported by Bloomberg:
Foxconn and Wistron Corp. have suspended production at their India plants, which include the assembly of some Apple Inc. ‌iPhone‌ models, in order to comply with a nationwide lockdown ordered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., is suspending operations until April 14, the company said in a text message to Bloomberg News. It intends to resume India production based on further government announcements. A Wistron representative said the company is also adhering to the order, while declining to comment on exactly what products are affected.
The 21-day lockdown was announced by Modi via a televised address to the nation on Tuesday evening. "For a few days forget what it means to go out. Today's decision of a nationwide lockdown draws a line outside your home," the PM said.

Wistron's new plant in India was poised to assemble printed circuit boards (PCBs) for iPhones in April, a first for the Taiwanese contract manufacturer that will save Apple having to pay import taxes on the vital Indian smartphone component.

Wistron's other plant, located in central Bengaluru, has been pumping out ‌‌iPhone‌‌ SE, ‌‌iPhone‌‌ 6S and ‌‌iPhone‌‌ 7 models since 2017. Wistron's larger rival, Foxconn, began making iPhone XR models in India last year. Apple also has an office with thousands of employees in Hyderabad, working on Apple Maps data.

All of the plants and offices are likely to be impacted by the virus-fighting measures, which come into force just as Apple planned to ramp up efforts to bring online and in-store sales to customers in India for the first time.

Apple was the fastest growing premium smartphone brand in India last year with 41 percent annual growth, according to recent market research data. India also recently relaxed rules on local sourcing of components, paving the way for Apple to open an online store in India later this year and its first retail store in the country by next year.
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Siri Now Provides Coronavirus Advice From CDC and U.S. Public Health Service

iPhone users who ask Siri about COVID-19 can now complete a questionnaire about their symptoms and potential exposure to the virus to better understand their health situation, as noted by CNBC. Apple says the answers are sourced from the CDC and U.S. Public Health Service, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services.



Apple today also shared a COVID-19-related PSA from the White House Coronavirus Task Force in its App Store on iOS devices, as retweeted by Rene Ritchie.


The same PSA can also be watched on Apple.com.

Apple earlier said it is donating millions of masks for health professionals in the U.S. and Europe.
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Apple to Donate Two Million N95 Respirator Masks to U.S. Hospitals

Apple plans to donate two million N95 respirator masks to hospitals in the United States, Vice President Mike Pence announced in a press briefing today.

With personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies dwindling across the United States, hospitals are in dire need of masks, gowns, and more.


Apple has taken several initiatives to help combat the spread of COVID-19. It was recently announced that Apple would be closing Apple Stores until further notice and has committed $15 million to date for COVID-19 relief efforts. In addition, Apple Card customers are able to enroll in a program that will allow them to skip March payment without interest. It was also announced on Thursday that Apple has pledged a substantial donation to Italy's first responders and medical personnel.



Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.
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