Red Cross calls on people in Flanders to “continue to give blood”

The Flemish Red Cross has appealed to people in Flanders to continue to give blood. Red Cross Flanders has issued its calls after far fewer people turned up to give blood at blood donation centres in recent days. The fall in the number of blood donors is likely to be as a result of people wishing to limit contact with other people outside the home to a minimum in order to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the COVID-19 virus. Furthermore, a number of blood donation sessions planned for the past week have been cancelled. The Red Cross is keen to stress that its blood donation centres are safe places. 

It was remarkable quite at the Flemish Red Cross’ blood donation centres on Thursday. Just 1 in 5 of the people that would have turned up to give blood on a normal Thursday did so yesterday. This is a total of 500 fewer than expected.

The Red Cross Flanders Spokeswoman Ina Tassignon told VRT News that “Our donor centres and mobile blood donation facilities are very safe places for donors. We are able to create a controlled setting where hygiene can be guaranteed. The maintenance of a distance of 1 metre between people is strictly observed. Our staff disinfect their hands after every contact with a blood donor. Also the novel corona virus cannot be transmitted through blood”. 

Mobile blood collections cancelled

The Red Cross has also asked for all blood donation sessions planned in church halls, youth clubs etc. not to be cancelled. Nevertheless, on Friday more than half of mobile collection sessions have been cancelled by local organisers. The Red Cross says that it is looking for alternatives for example moving mobile blood donation sessions to school sport halls.

The organisation warns of shortages of blood if donors continue to stay away. Normally there are enough blood reserve to last 5 days. However, there is currently only enough blood to last three days.