Royal Mail has said it will continue with deliveries during lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Shane O’Riordain, Royal Mail Managing director of Regulation and Corporate Affairs said: "We understand the important role we have to play in helping people to stay connected.

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"We are working hard to deliver mail to every part of the UK.

"Mail is still scheduled to be collected and delivered as normal.

"This is a fast-moving situation and local service levels may at times be impacted by local absences.

"Royal Mail takes the health and safety of its colleagues, its customers and the local communities in which we operate very seriously.

"From today we have introduced a range of new social distancing measures aimed at offering further protection for our colleagues.

"Standard ways of working are being revised to ensure that, wherever possible, colleagues stay two metres apart. "We are implementing a new rule that means there will only be one person in a Royal Mail delivery vehicle at any one time."

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He added that processes have also been reviewed to minimise the passing of work between colleagues, as well as regular hand washing.

He added: "In order to protect further both our people and customers, we are temporarily not handing over our hand-held devices to customers to capture signatures.

"Postmen and postwomen will instead log the name of the person accepting the item, and can sign on their behalf. This will apply to all deliveries that require a signature.

"Additionally, for all customers (including those who are self-isolating) where we need to deliver any parcel that won’t fit through their letterbox, we will place their item at their door."

Anyone unable to come to the door will be issued a card advising other ways they can arrange to get their item.

“Public health authorities have advised people receiving parcels are not at risk of contracting coronavirus," he added.

"From experience with other coronaviruses, we know that these types of viruses don’t survive long on objects, such as letters or parcels.

"This complements the highly publicised guidance from public health authorities for people to wash their hands more often than usual using soap and hot water.

“These actions form part of a package of measures being taken by Royal Mail to protect both its customers and its colleagues."