'Disruption' for postal services in Suffolk as Covid keeps staff at home

Royal Mail has warned of disruption in Suffolk due to Covid

Royal Mail has warned of disruption in Suffolk due to Covid (file photo) - Credit: PA

Royal Mail customers have been warned of "disruption" in Suffolk due to Covid-19 - with a backlog of deliveries in some areas being caused by isolating postal workers. 

A worker at the Thetford sorting office, which delivers across north Suffolk, has revealed as many as 20 members of staff have been forced off in recent weeks after a positive Covid case.

More than 6,000 people in Suffolk were 'pinged' by the NHS Covid-19 app last week, with business leaders arguing it was "disruptive" as staff were being kept at home.

Royal Mail said it was experiencing disruption "in a limited number of areas" due to Covid-related absences and the company was focusing on providing "as comprehensive a service as possible" to customers impacted. 

Postal services have previously been hit by coronavirus in Suffolk - with more than 30 staff in Bury St Edmunds forced into isolation in February due to a positive test.

The Thetford post office worker said: "I've never known it like this. We had a positive case a few weeks ago and it forced 20 people off.

"Half of the office didn't go out after that - it meant the mail was disrupted for just over a week. Most of the area didn't have any mail.

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"People are still getting pinged and it's having an effect. The last two weeks have been the worst in the last two years."

Business leaders from across Suffolk have called for clarity from the government as the 'pingdemic' causes chaos

The 'pingdemic' has affected Royal Mail in Suffolk - Credit: PA

Adam Mitchell, representative of the Suffolk branch of the Communication Workers Union, added: "We have been dealing with serious enquiries and concerns from our members across the IP postcode."

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One Ipswich resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "We had about 12 letters delivered on Saturday, including a ticket for the Ipswich Town game which arrived at 12pm.

"We also had a letter arrive with a bill that was due to be paid by today.

"In the past few weeks, we have had post that has arrived by 7.30pm."

A spokesman for Royal Mail revealed branches across the country were missing staff as Covid cases had surged in recent weeks.

The spokesman said: "The health and safety of our colleagues and our customers is our number one priority.

"In a limited number of areas, we are experiencing some disruption to service due to Covid related absences.

"In impacted areas, we are focused on providing as comprehensive a service as possible to our customers."

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