The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) has urged members of the public to continue with blood donations, despite the coronavirus outbreak.
It said in a statement that “the coronavirus cannot be transmitted through blood transfusion, as respiratory viruses are generally known not to be transmittable by donation or transfusion”.
It said that, although it did do tests for the coronavirus, blood donor screening services were already in place to prevent individuals who may be at risk of clinical respiratory infections from donating blood.
Healthy blood donors were being encouraged to continue donating blood to ensure that bloodstock levels remained adequate across the country, it said.
SANBS spokesperson Silungile Mlambo said: “We anticipate added pressure on the blood supply during Easter, Ramadan, the winter months and the added effects of the Covid-19 could see the number of eligible donors decrease in the following few months.”
SANBS has advised donors who suspect they might have contracted the virus to contact the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) hotline and get tested.
Mlambo added that donors should take precautionary measures to ensure their safety and that of other citizens.
“If you are feeling unwell or exhibiting any clinical symptoms of infection, fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat and shortness of breath, you are requested to delay donating blood until you are in good health,” Mlambo said.