Blood donations are still needed during the coronavirus pandemic - here's how to do it safely

Thursday, 26th March 2020, 10:20 am
Updated Thursday, 26th March 2020, 10:20 am

The NHS is asking the public to continue to give blood during the coronavirus outbreak, to ensure that lives can keep being saved.

Donations had reportedly dropped by 15 per cent last week, and it is believed the decrease may be down to uncertainty among donors about whether appointments are still going ahead, and if it is still safe to attend.

NHS Blood and Transplant said that calls enquiring about whether donation sessions were going ahead have leapt from around 30 a day to 500 a day.

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While blood stocks are still good and demand down because of cancelled operations, the NHS says it still needs people to continue donating to ensure that it's there for anyone who needs it.

People with blood disorders, those involved in severe accidents and people with leukaemia are all examples of patients who will continue to need blood throughout the coronavirus outbreak.

Is it safe to give blood?

Currently, there is no evidence that coronavirus can spread through blood transfusion, and donation centres have assured the public that they are taking extra precautions in order to minimise the possibility of transmission between donors when attending appointments.

Donors are being screened to make sure they're fit to give blood, and centres are taking extra hygiene precautions to reduce the risk of transmission.

The NHS has also asked centres to spread out seating in waiting rooms to ensure an appropriate distance is maintained between donors.

Donors must, of course, take sensible precautions when donating blood. This includes staying away from appointments if you feel unwell, practising frequent hand washing, and coughing or sneezing into a clean tissue which should be thrown away immediately.

Centres won't be testing for coronavirus, given there is no evidence the virus can be spread through blood transfusion.

Even if you have, or suspect you have contracted coronavirus, you'll still be able to donate 14 days after your symptoms have settled.