The U.K.’s Royal Mail has told the nation’s 67 million citizens not to send anything overseas for the time being.
The seemingly odd request, by an organization whose business involves to some extent sending letters and parcels beyond its borders, is reportedly down to a cyber incident, the BBC reported.
The Royal Mail describes it as a cyber “incident” and not a cyber “attack” as the precise cause is currently unclear. The incident has been reported to the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre as well as the National Crime Agency.
“We’re experiencing disruption to our international export services and are temporarily unable to despatch items to overseas destinations,” the Royal Mail said in a tweet on Wednesday, January 11. “We strongly advise customers to hold any export items while we work to resolve the issue.”
It apologized for any inconvenience and said it was “working hard” to get the service up and running again.
According to the BBC, the disruption has affected the system that Royal Mail uses to prepare items for despatch abroad, which also provides data for the tracking and tracing of those items as they make their way to destination addresses in other countries.
The system reportedly operates at six locations across the U.K., including Royal Mail’s large distribution center serving London’s Heathrow Airport, one of the world’s busiest aviation hubs.
“It is unclear how long the disruption will continue, and mail that has already been shipped for export may be delayed,” the BBC said in its report.
With around 200,000 outgoing overseas items entering the Royal Mail’s system on an average day, it will be keen for the public to comply with its request to hold onto such letters and parcels for now. As for recently posted international items, Royal Mail said that some might reach their destinations later than usual.
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