UPDATE: 2:30 a.m. EST — Police officers in hazmat gear were seen leaving the United States consulate in Melbourne, Australia, with a suspicious package Wednesday. Embassies of several countries received such packages earlier in the day.

Original story:

Suspicious packages sent to at least 13 international consulates, including that of the United States, in Australia's Melbourne on Wednesday, forced a shutdown of several diplomatic missions. The consulates of the United Kingdom, Germany, India and Switzerland were among those affected.

The Italian, South Korean, Greek, Pakistani and Egyptian consulates were also shut down. Reports said that the said packages contained words like "asbestos" and "wear a mask." 

The U.S. Embassy did not have a statement on its official website, owing to the ongoing partial government shutdown, but a spokesperson said the package was handled according to standard protocol.

A report by news.com.au quoted Channel 7 as saying paramedics were seen entering the South Korean government offices, while the Australian Associated Press reported the Indian Consulate-General was attended by two fire trucks, police cars and a hazardous material truck. According to 9News, paramedics also attended the US Consulate. Emergency services were first alerted about the packages at around 2 p.m. local time (10 p.m. EST Tuesday).

The Australian Federal Police said it was investigating the matter, and the Metropolitan Fire Brigade was aiding the police as well.

Emergency Management Victoria, an Australian government agency said 17 hazardous material incidents were recorded across five regions — St. Kilda Road, Collins Street, Queens Street, Albert Road and William Street. However, it said things were under control.

 

On Monday, the Argentinian Consulate in Sydney received a suspicious package containing white powder. However, after conducting a toxicity test on Wednesday morning, a specialized hazmat team concluded the powder was not toxic.