LISTEN | Covid-19: It is safe to donate, virus cannot be transmitted through blood, says SANBS

23 March 2020 - 18:19 By Cebelihle Bhengu
The SANBS has urged donors to continue donating blood during the coronavirus outbreak.
The SANBS has urged donors to continue donating blood during the coronavirus outbreak.
Image: 123RF/Sudok1

The SA National Blood Service (SANBS) has assured South Africans that donating blood during the Covid-19 outbreak is safe.

The organisation's Dr Pheello Lethola said the service was concerned by the significant drop in blood units being donated as more people practised social distancing and self-isolation.

Lethola said while a decrease in donors was anticipated, the low levels at which the SANBS was receiving blood was concerning.

“This was anticipated given the situation we are in. However, the drop in the amounts is quite significant. Normally, we need to operate with a five-day stock level to know we have enough blood for patients. Currently, the stocks have dropped to less than three days.”

On Saturday, more than 15,400 units of blood which were supposed to have been donated were not, as people feared going into public spaces.

Lethola added that staff and donors were screened for flu-like symptoms and that alcohol-based sanitisers were provided at entrances to SANBS buildings to ensure a clean, safe environment.

Blood-saving measures had been taken. They included doctors being limited to one blood unit at a time to prevent them ordering excess which was not used and enabling doctors to return blood in good condition. 

SANBS expected the demand for blood to be higher during the holiday season and urged the public to donate. 


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