BUSINESSES in the UK have begun sounding the alarm over coronavirus as the outbreak impacts operations in China and major supply chains.

Days after Apple warned it will not meet its second-quarter financial guidance because of the epidemic, UK firms including the likes of IT giant Aveva and recruiter Hays have cautioned over the impact on the Chinese market.

Aveva, which is one of the UK’s biggest tech groups and makes 5% of its revenues in China, said Chinese sales had been knocked by coronavirus disruption. Shares in the FTSE 100-listed firm dropped 4% after its update.

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Kitchen and bathroom supplier Norcros saw its stock plummet 13% after it issued a profit warning as the spread of the disease has affected Chinese-based suppliers. The group said this is “likely to have some impact on the seasonally important remainder of this financial year and early next year”.

Recruiter Hays said it was too early to give details on any financial impact, but said it was “materially impacting” activity in the Chinese jobs market. This is set to continue until at least the end of March, the firm warned.

Chief executive Alistair Cox said that recruitment in China had been “very subdued” as offices were shut until February 10 on the advice of the Chinese government.

“Everyone has been concerned about their own health and safety and that of their families – it has to be everyone’s priority,” he said.