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Apple announces reopening of stores in Italy and denies pressuring employees to return to work

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Measures to combat the new pandemic Coronavirus (COVID-19) announced by Apple still have effect in several countries; As we reported in recent weeks, the company is in a slow process of reopening in some regions – such as in South Korea, Australia, Germany, Switzerland and some locations in the United States (not to mention China, where stores initially reopened ).

Even though it is resuming activities in certain locations, some Apple employees deny that the company is “speeding up” this process and “pressuring” them to return to work (something that gave us something to talk about this week), as we will see more at front.

We will also check out news regarding the Apple and Google exposure alert API, and as a new study provides for the possibility of detecting cases of COVID-19 using smartwatches.

Shops in Italy

After some confusion about which stores would reopen or not in Italy, Apple finally confirmed that, as of May 19 (next Tuesday), 10 of its 17 stores in the country will reopen at special time. The information is from the Italian newspaper la Repubblica.

Units that will reopen next week include those in Florence, Rome and Misterbianco. Apparently, the Lonato and Milan units, among others, will remain closed.

The report also cites an Apple press release about the reopening that deals with special opening hours and the adoption of health security measures – very similar to what was released in other countries where the company’s retail units have already reopened.

Our social detachment protocol means that a limited number of visitors remain inside the store at the same time, in order to reduce closeness between customers. Our thoughts are with all those who were affected by COVID-19 and those who work 24 hours a day to treat, study and contain their progress.

Remember that Apple Stores in Italy have been closed for about ten weeks.

Apple denies it is putting pressure on employees

As we reported, since Apple closed its store doors and campuses in the US (and around the world), its employees began to work remotely – even those who dealt directly with people, who were relocated to support areas. This, as we know, has been going on for some time.

Apple Park exterior

This week, however, the well-known columnist of Bloomberg, Mark Gurman, published an article that indicated the gradual resumption of face-to-face activities by employees who would be facing problems with the home office – suggesting, implicitly, that Apple would be “pushing harder” for the return to face-to-face activities than other technology companies.

This was promptly refuted by others inside the company in another report published by John Gruber, of Daring Fireball, who called Gurman’s story “Clickbait”. In fact, some of Gruber’s sources said that Apple Park «is a ghost town» and that this «is not going to change anytime soon».

Gruber also spoke with Apple managers who said that «there is still no real timetable associated with phased opening». This does not mean that there is no plan or even a schedule under review, but these people emphasize that everything depends on the progress of the pandemic in each location.

Gurman has yet to respond to Gruber’s criticism (and refutation) of the story published in the Bloomberg – but that the thing was explicitly ugly between them, there is no denying it.

COVID-19 App

Apple updated its COVID-19 screening tool with new information for healthcare professionals (in line with CDC guidelines), as well as best practices during quarantine if a person has been exposed to the virus, with specific information for pregnant women and newborns.

Apple COVID-19 app icon

Apple COVID-19

in Apple

Compatible with iPhones

Version 4.0.1 (17.1 MB) Requires iOS 13.1 or higher?? Not available on the Brazilian App Store!

Similarly, the Apple website with information about the disease has also been updated to provide the same new indications.

For those using the tool, it is important to note that the data provided on the software / website is not shared with Apple, CDC or other government agencies.

Can smartwatches detect COVID-19?

Could the Apple Watch detect cases of COVID-19 using heart rate and breathing data? This is what a new Stanford University study is planning to discover, as released by Gizmodo UK.

iPhone and smartwatch

According to the report, scientists from the American university are looking for owners of smartwatches, such as the Apple Watch, to be part of a study on “Wearable data”. The survey, which is expected to last two years, will analyze data collected by participants’ watches from a specialized app and daily surveys.

We are trying to establish whether data collected from wearable devices can be used to predict the onset of an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, before the onset of actual symptoms. We will collect data such as heart rate, skin temperature, blood oxygen saturation, etc.

According to the head of the study, Michael Snyder, “tens of thousands” of people have already signed up – however, only people diagnosed with COVID-19 (or who are in the risk group) will be able to participate, for now.

via AppleInsider, 9to5Mac, MacRumors, Cult of Mac