News24 Wire
Wire Service
2 minute read
19 Mar 2020
11:37 am

Don’t let coronavirus stop you from donating blood – SANBS

News24 Wire

The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) has appealed to donors to continue donating blood amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Of the 54 million South African population, only 480,000 people – which is less than 1% of the population – are active donors.

The SANBS said it took the health and safety of its stakeholders very seriously. “It is our social responsibility to take all necessary steps to try and prevent the spread of Covid-19.”

Covid-19 is the medical condition caused by SARS-CoV-2, more commonly known as the novel coronavirus.

By Wednesday, 116 South Africans had already been infected, the Health Ministry announced.

“As such, we have taken the decision for some of our teams to work remotely. Where necessary, our employees have been advised to conduct business essential meetings via virtual communication such as Webex, Zoom or Skype until further notice,” the SANBS said in a statement.

“Our staff in the field are educated to disclose if they are feeling unwell or exhibiting any flu-like symptoms or signs of infection (fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat and shortness of breath), and have been asked not to come to work if they are.”

The blood service said measures were in place to manage such cases.

“SANBS provides an essential service within South Africa and therefore we appeal to donors to continue donating blood to help prevent stocks dropping.

“To ensure that the people who utilise our facilities are protected, we are assessing donors at the doors and at access points into mobile sites.

“Our donation sites are regularly disinfected with alcohol. We have also equipped all our clinics and mobile site entrances with antiseptic sprays and alcohol wipes.

“Importantly, we are also encouraging and educating donors to delay donation if they are exhibiting any flu-like symptoms or signs of infection until they are in good health.

“In addition, we request donors who have travelled to countries with known cases to delay their donations for at least 21 days.”

The SANBS said its staff has been informed that all non-essential travel should be cancelled. This includes conferences, workshops and other events. All off-site meetings will be cancelled or attended via virtual communication platforms.

It added that visitors to SANBS will be assessed via a questionnaire for Covid-19 exposure. International visitors will not be allowed entry onto its premises if they travelled in the past 14 days and have not tested negative for the virus.

“We urge individuals to take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of fellow citizens. If you are feeling unwell or exhibiting any clinical symptoms of infection, please see your local healthcare provider as soon as possible.

“We are in close contact with health authorities and we will provide regular updates on any further developments.

“Our operations are continuing as normal and all measures are being taken to protect our employees, donors and all stakeholders.”

Urgent queries or concerns can be directed to the SANBS’ medical director, Dr Jackie Thomson, on 083 450 5841 or the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) coronavirus hotline number on 0800 029 999, or the WhatsApp number 060 012 3456.

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