COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates

Our latest guidance with regards to the impact of the COVID-19 virus on the processing, transportation and delivery of mail can be found below.

Following the latest national efforts to combat Coronavirus, we want to reassure you that Mail International very much remains open. As a processor and distributor of both written communications and e-commerce parcels, we recognise the important role we play in enabling people to manage during these exceptional times. We of course have to balance this with our responsibility to our staff and should the situation change, we will update you accordingly.

Below is an updated list of known impacts affecting mail delivery in both the UK and internationally. Should you need to discuss any aspect in more detail, our client services team will be happy to help you. You can contact them on 01444 871111 or via e-mail at [email protected]

Latest Advice and Updates


Wednesday 12th August – UK – We are currently experiencing no collection, processing or delivery issues with regards to UK mail or parcel delivery. We will update accordingly should the situation change.

NB. Royal Mail have made some changes to how they hand over both Special Delivery & Signed-For items in order to minimise contact during the delivery process. You can find the details here. Other UK carriers such as DPD have implemented similar processes for their signed products and the equivalent advice can be found on the relevant carriers website. Should you need any further information on this then contact our client services team at [email protected] and they will endeavour to assist you.


Monday 3rd August – CANADA – Royal Mail have stated that all mail being sent from the UK to Canada is facing severe delays because of the on-going impact of COVID-19 and record volumes of traffic being received in Canada. Additionally, delays are taking place once the mail reaches the Canadian border. As a result, estimates for current delivery times are currently not available. As these issues are not supplier specific, it is anticipated that these issues will affect all mail sent to Canada, irrespective of the supplier used.

Tuesday 28th July – USA – Service levels are still being impacted in-line with the last USA specific update on 10th July. We will update when we have any further information.

Monday 20th July – ALL COUNTRIES – A number of countries are reported to be re-entering lockdown, either in full or in part. This may have a knock-on affect with regards to mail transit, processing and delivery and therefore there may be an impact on delivery times.

Friday 10th July – USA – We have had initial feedback from suppliers that transit times for mail and parcel volumes to the USA are improving. However, whilst we are hearing that volumes at the United States Postal Service entry points (US airports) are still very high, and not all backlogs have yet been resolved, according to initial reports, delays have significantly declined and last mile delivery performance is improving.

Thursday 2nd July – CANADA – Restricted access to flights and capacity issues at the only available Canada Post entry point (airport) are causing significant disruption. These factors combined with peak volumes and COVID-19 prevention measures have resulted in backlogs locally at Canada Post and to some extent Canadian customs. Subsequently, many suppliers are reporting potentially heavy delays. We will update as and when we receive further information.

Thursday 2nd July – USA – The impact of peak volumes and limited availability/capacity of United States Postal Service entry points (at US airports) appears to be causing significant delays. Some of our suppliers are reporting that these delays could potentially run into a number of weeks. These delays affect both mail and parcel volumes. In addition, it is being reported that for tracked mail to the USA, not all initial scans in the USA are being done by the USPS. This means that some tracking events/info may be missing until they are sorted in the domestic centers of USPS.

Monday 22nd June – ALL COUNTRIES – The international service alert issued below on the 3rd June still reflects the latest advice available.

Friday 12th June – ALL COUNTRIES – The last general international service alert (issued below on the 3rd June) still reflects the latest advice available.

Thursday 11th June – USA – Royal Mail have reported that USA mail and parcels are being moved around the USA and managed through many international mail centres across the country. This is outside of the normal operating procedures and is being done by the United States Postal Service (USPS) so they can manage the very high volumes currently being experienced. They have highlighted the following as examples and have stated that customers should expect delays across the USA. As of 2nd June these delays are described as potentially significant as USPS continues to deal with heavy increases in volumes. This note will apply to all suppliers.

  • Los Angeles – is processing 50% more than they do in Christmas peak period, and are experiencing significant delays.
  • San Francisco – is handling heavy volumes and have moved international work to domestic mail centres outside of the normal International Mail Centres to cope with high volumes. Customers should expect delays.
  • Chicago – Significant delays are still being seen through the Chicago gateway. We’re diverting traffic away from this gateway in consultation with United States Postal Service.

Wednesday 3rd June – ALL COUNTRIES – Service availability continues to gradually return to normal. However, there is still insufficient freight capacity available at present and to many destinations where this is available it comes at higher cost. In addition, there still remains a number of destinations where the receiving country is accepting mail but no transport route is currently available. Please contact our client services team for more information relating specifically to your mailing and current service availability/cost impact.

Wednesday 27th May – ALL COUNTRIES – The last general international service alert (issued below on the 18th May) still reflects the latest advice available.

Monday 18th May – SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa will start to accept mail through usual international post channels from today. However, due to the large backlogs it may be some time before the service normalises and in the meantime significant delays are possible.

Thursday 14th May – ALL COUNTRIES – The last international service alert issued below on the 7th May still reflects the latest advice available.

Thursday 7th May – ALL COUNTRIES – The available list of destinations and the services currently available have not substantially changed over the last week – i.e. since the last update. Where destinations have opened or closed, we have adjusted our routing’s accordingly to ensure your mail receives the best available transit times at the lowest possible cost. Surcharges are still in place on numerous destinations but the level of these remains largely unchanged.

Wednesday 6th May – SOUTH AFRICA – This destination has been suspended by nearly all suppliers. Whilst we have a route we will attempt to send mail to South Africa but significant delays are likely. 

Wednesday 29th April – INDIA – We have been informed that Royal Mail will start to except and process mail for India again. However, due to the backlog of mail in the system for India, significant delays are expected. Mail currently on hold within India will be processed first followed by any backlogs in transport networks. Due to the  limited transport capacity affecting all routes at present, we do not know how long this route will remain open and if surcharges will be introduced at any point. 

Thursday 23rd April – ALL COUNTRIES – Whilst the availability of transport routes and air freight capacity is starting to improve (albeit at additional cost), increased delays for most destinations are being reported. This is primarily being communicated to us as a bi-product of backlogs and bottlenecks at all stages from transport to end-delivery. Ultimately, in addition to the transport issues previously reported, end post offices are facing an increased volume of parcels ordered online combined with reduced staffing and special working practices.

Friday 17th April – ALL COUNTRIES – The current situation remains largely unchanged. As previously advised, a number of our suppliers have started to implement alternative transport routing’s and methods to keep mail moving and the number of routes available is tentatively improving. Transport delays are still common place at the present along with delays in mail processing and delivery in the destination countries due to local Covid-19 measures that are widely in place. with delays still in place. Therefore, at present you should still expect longer delivery times and increased costs for international mail. Please contact our client services team on [email protected] for more information.

Tuesday 14th April – ALL COUNTRIES – The recent updates are still current with a significant number of destinations and transport route subject to capacity constraints, embargo and/or delays. Please contact our customer service team for more information.

Wednesday 9th April – AUSTRALIA – Linehaul capacity, availability and pricing is fluctuating dramatically to this destination. As such, most suppliers are reporting that it is taking upto 4-5 days from mail being sent to the airport to leave on a flight. Therefore, please expect significant delays for this destination along with increased costs.

Tuesday 7th April – ALL COUNTRIES – A number of our suppliers have started to implement alternative transport routing’s and methods to keep mail moving. The result of this is a tentative increase in the number of services/destinations available to us although the bi-product of this is longer deliver times and increased costs than what was in place before the recent pandemic began. Please contact our client services team for more information

Friday 3rd April – ALL COUNTRIES – Transport capacity issues, embargoes and destination constraints (i.e. lockdowns) continue to affect mail dispatch, processing and delivery. Whilst we still have services available to most destinations, transport surcharges and delays continue to feed through to mailing costs and delivery times. Please contact our client services team at [email protected] to discuss this further. 

Tuesday 31st March – USA – Whilst at present we are still able to move mail to the USA, all routes are now suffering from limited capacity and surcharges are being applied where space is available. This is causing delays and increased costs for us and our customers but our team are continually working with our suppliers and our customers with regards to this situation. Please be aware that given the changing situation, the USA may at some point be placed under embargo and no mail or parcels will be able to be sent.

Tuesday 31st March – INDIA – Most transport routes to India have been closed and the nature of the lockdown there means that items currently on route or within the Indian postal network are unlikely to be delivered or processed further for the time being. It is anticipated that following the conclusion of the lockdown, mail processing and delivery should resume although any backlog is likely to cause further delays.

Monday 30th March – ALL COUNTRIES – The general update issued on Thursday 26th March is still current. The list of available destinations across our supplier network continues to change throughout the day. Our team is constantly updating our systems with this information in an effort to ensure we can move as much mail as possible.

However, there are certain cases where there may be no available route still open. In these situations we will hold the items until service resumes and where possible our client services team will try to contact you. Any items in transit or within the global postal network at the time of a suspension will likely be held until the items can resume their journey or be delivered. We have no control once items have left us but we will endeavour to keep customers informed where possible.

Thursday 26th March – ALL COUNTRIES – As per previous advice, it is becoming increasingly difficult to source linehaul to various countries. The vast majority of embargoes are the result of this rather then the destination not accepting mail. We are therefore working hard with our suppliers to source adequate transport but where this is available, there is often a per kilo surcharge mechanism in place. That said, we still have at least one route to most countries and are currently distributing mail on a daily basis for these destinations. Where your mailing could incur significant additional cost, our client services team will contact you to discuss the options available to you.

Wednesday 25th March – INDIA – We have been informed that India has entered a period of lockdown. It is unclear whether the any or all of postal delivery system will be be affected and we are seeking to clarify. In any event, we will attempt to move mail and parcels as far as we can – however, significant delays should be expected. We will update if he hear anything further.

Tuesday 24th March – FRANCE – The French post office will be reducing the days it operates until further notice. This will affect all units and operations and will mean that we will only be able to handover mail on specific days. it will also mean that subsequent processing and delivery will also be affected – expect delays. 

Tuesday 24th March – USA – The last two air-based mail services to the USA (which are still open) have both introduced a surcharge effective Wednesday 25th March. This is as a result of the limited freight capacity available. Depending on the size and weight of the items you are sending, the impact of this surcharge will vary. Our client services team will discuss this situation with each customer where relevant but in the meantime you can contact the team at [email protected] should you wish to. 

Monday 23rd March – ALL COUNTRIES – As per the information released on Tuesday 17th March, some countries continue to be subject to embargo. The exact countries vary from supplier to supplier and the list changes rapidly (i.e. throughout the day). Broadly speaking we have at least one delivery route to nearly every country – if you want to speak more specifically about your mailing and any potential impacts, please contact our client service team at [email protected].

Monday 23rd March – ALL COUNTRIES – Please be aware that in many countries, post offices and other suppliers have now changed the way they deliver/hand items over to recipients. For items where a signature from the recipient has been requested, this will most likely not take place – instead, the delivery person will sign on the recipients behalf. In addition, social distancing measures are changing the deliver process for all items around the world. In general, the delivery person will hand over items at what they deem is a safe distance. At present, it appears the most common interpretation of this is that delivery person should not come into direct or indirect contact with other individuals and should be able to complete the deliver whilst maintaining social distancing measures. As such, many post offices and other suppliers, will not collect from individuals or their premises and in some cases they reserve the right to not enter apartment blocks or other enclosed spaces they deem unsafe to make deliveries.

Wednesday 18th March RUSSIA – The embargo to Russia has now been lifted.

Wednesday 18th March – USA – Most of the air freight capacity to the USA has now been removed. This affects most European airports and not just Heathrow and as such our options to move mail to the USA via air are extremely limited. For the time being, we can still send USA items via air but at a slightly higher cost although we are not sure how long this arrangement will be available to us for. In the event our mail services via air to US are suspended, we will inform you accordingly.

Tuesday 17th March – ALL COUNTRIES – A large number of destinations are now being embargoed. This can vary from supplier to supplier as the embargo may be the result of  a lack of transport connections rather than the end post office placing a block. Ultimately, we are working with our suppliers to route mail and parcels via routes that still open. However, as previously communicated this may come at a higher cost or no available routing may be available. In the latter instance we will attempt to move mail as far down the chain as possible in an effort to reduce delays once service normalise.

Tuesday 17th March – GREECE – We have been informed that e-commerce/parcel shipments sent via tracked or courier services to Greece should not be sent to business/shop pick-up addresses as these are largely not being served. Additionally, we have been notified that some delivery agents will not deliver to residences within apartment blocks unless handover can take place outside.

Monday 16th March – RUSSIA – A temporary embargo to Moscow, Russia has been put in place. This will affect a large proportion of mail sent to Russia as Moscow is used by a range of suppliers as a gateway into the country.

Monday 16th March – SAUDI ARABIA – Delivery in the following towns in unavailable and shipments will be held for collection: Anak, Awamiah, Qatif, Rahima, Ras Tanura, Safwa, Seihat, Tarut.

Monday 16th March – AUSTRIA – Delivery to the following postcodes is not permitted due to a government lockdown: 6580, 6552, 6553, 6555, 6561, 6562, 6563, 9844

Monday 16th March – SPAIN – Following a Spanish government directive, selected postcodes have been embargoed in the Barcelona area as a result of the area being closed off. Any mail or parcels sent to this area may be returned. 8672, 8695, 8698, 8699, 8700, 8710, 8711, 8712, 8718, 8719, 8773, 8779, 8781, 8782, 8783, 8784, 8785, 8786, 8787, 8788, 8789, 8791

Friday 13th March – ISRAEL – The Israel post office is running reduced hours and some collection points are unavailable.

Thursday 12th March – USA –– The USA are being reported to have placed a temporary ban on flights between some European countries and the USA for an initial period of 30 days. We are seeking clarification and will update accordingly as to whether this also applies to freight.

Tuesday 10th March – ITALY – Italy has extended its regional quarantine to a national level. We expect this to have an affect on all aspects of mail and courier sent to the country with delays and potential non-delivery events likely. Italian Post have issued the following guidelines that come into immediate effect and will last until at least the 15th March.

• All mail items, including registered mail, insured letter post items and parcels will be deposited in mailboxes, with a notice signed by the postman/woman informing the recipient of this temporary measure.
• If the addressee is not at home or refuses to accept this method of delivery, the postman/woman will leave a notice of delivery and instructions how to collect the item from a Post Office, in the recipient’s mailbox.
• Items rejected by the addressee will be returned to sender.

Monday 2nd March – ALL COUNTRIES – Air freight capacity and the viability of certain transport routes (including via road) is now being heavily affected. With a number of airlines reducing the availability of aircraft and therefore air freight capacity for at least the next month, there is now significant potential for transport delays and/or increased costs to move mail and freight around the world. Where transport routes are still accessible, we will attempt to move mail as far as is possible, but subsequent final processing and delivery delays may still occur due to the measures being put in place locally by various governments. 

Monday 24th February – ITALY – Poste Italiane informs that, concerning the measures to minimise the spread of the novel coronavirus in Italy, the table below shows an update of the situation as of 25 February 2020, at which time precautionary closure was in place in the following municipalities and their corresponding postcodes areas. The collection and delivery of letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items from/to the  below-mentioned locations is temporarily suspended.


In addition to the above-listed “off-limits red zones”, delivery may also be affected in neighbouring areas as a result of the precautionary temporary closure, by local order or individual initiative, of public institutions (schools, universities, nurseries, theatres, etc.), or businesses open to the public (restaurants, cafés, etc.).

Tuesday 28th January – ALL COUNTRIES – Owing to measures taken by various governments and organisations to reduce the risk and spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), all inbound and outbound mail processing (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items) to and from affected areas is subject to severe disruption. In addition, transport routes and available capacity are starting to be impacted, predominantly in Asia at this stage. Where transport routes are available, we will attempt to move mail as far as is possible, but final processing and delivery may still be significantly affected.


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