STAFF shortages due to Covid isolation and illnesses have caused delays to the Royal Mail’s service, it has been confirmed.

As Covid-19 cases continue to rise in the UK, the Royal Mail has been hit hard in Hampshire, with the postal service admitting to ‘high levels’ of sickness.

Hampshire County Council member Cllr Peter Chegwyn has urged residents to be patient while the Royal Mail deals with its backlog.

He said: "In Gosport alone I know we had more than a dozen posties off work, which has hindered the postal service over the past two weeks.

"I’m still waiting on some Christmas cards myself.

"The bottom line is that right now there are too few workers having to do too much work – and that is the case in a lot of different industries.

"What makes this worse is how the government has changed the isolation rules – the lateral flow tests aren’t 100 per cent effective so you could be walking around speading Covid and be none the wiser about it."

The Royal Mail’s service tracker only flags up the PO9 and PO10 postcodes in Havant as having issues.

The Royal Mail isn’t the only service in Hampshire that has been hit by Covid-19 disruption.

As of January 3, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service had 64 firefighters either ill or isolating due to Covid-19, equating to 4.4 per cent of the workforce.

The Royal Mail has vowed to resolve its ongoing issues as soon as possible, and has urged anyone with worries about their post to get in touch.

A Royal Mail spokeswoman said: "The vast majority of mail is delivered safely and on time. We aim to deliver to all addresses we have mail for, six days a week

"In some areas of Hampshire, we have been experiencing some delays to service due to high levels of sickness absence and Covid related self-isolation. We would like to apologise to customers for any inconvenience experienced.

"We have been working hard to get our levels of service back to normal as soon as possible.

"Anyone who has concerns over the delivery of their mail should contact the Royal Mail customer service team on 03457 740740 or via the Royal Mail website."