Royal Mail has halted deliveries to Europe, except for the Republic of Ireland, due to a UK travel ban triggered by the discovery of a new faster spreading coronavirus strain.
The company has also added Canada and Turkey to its “on suspension” list due to delays caused by “severely limited” air capacity.
In addition, Royal Mail said it could not guarantee special delivery items posted on 23 December would arrive before Christmas due to tighter COVID-19 restrictions being introduced in England.
Confirmation of a more infectious coronavirus variant has seen countries around the world shut their borders to the UK, including France, closing off one of the most important trade routes with mainland Europe and causing major transport disruption in Kent.
Royal Mail said on its website: “This is a fast-moving situation and we are monitoring things on an hourly basis.
“We are working to keep as many international mail services running as possible given the current restrictions around air, road, ferry and train movements from the UK.
“Royal Mail has temporarily suspended all mail services to Europe, with the exception of the Republic of Ireland.”
It added: “We’re closely monitoring the situation and are ready to open our services as soon as we are able to once the restrictions have been lifted.
“We’re additionally experiencing delays to Canada and Turkey as air capacity is severely limited.
“We’re working with our airline and postal/courier partners across the globe to maintain services, however delays should be expected.
“The number of countries we can access is changing daily.”
German mail firm Deutsche Post DHL has also halted all deliveries of parcels to Britain and Ireland.
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