Almost a quarter of UK firms have halted trading due to the coronavirus lockdown, according to the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS said 23% of businesses have temporarily closed or paused trading, according to its latest survey on the business impact of coronavirus, for the two weeks to April 19.

It said the accommodation and food service sector was the worst hit, with 81% of firms halting operations, while the arts and entertainment sector saw 80% cease trading.

Most businesses across all sectors have continued to trade, but most of these reported a slump in turnover.

The survey revealed that 58% of companies said turnover had slipped below normal levels.

Of those that had not closed sites, 30% said their financial performance was not impacted.

Two-thirds of companies, in the survey of 6,114 firms, said they have furloughed staff through the coronavirus job retention scheme.

These firms said they have furloughed around 28% of their workforces to mitigate the impact of the crisis.

The survey said 87% of accommodation and food service companies have furloughed staff, along with 81% of construction firms and 77% of transport outfits.

The ONS also revealed that the price of high-demand products has nudged 0.1% lower, after price rises in previous weeks.

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