The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) would like to appeal to all their healthy donors to continue to donate blood. “The SANBS would like to assure donors that donating blood is safe. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) cannot be transmitted through blood transfusion as respiratory viruses are generally not known to be transmittable by donation or transfusion. Blood donor screening, which includes travel self-deferrals, are already in place to prevent individuals who may be at risk of clinical respiratory infections from donating blood.” As per a statement released today.
The SANBS would also like to urge healthy donors who belong to all blood groups to continue to donate blood to ensure that the blood stock levels are adequate at all times in the country. “We anticipate added pressure on the blood supply during Easter, Ramadan and the winter months and the added effects of the COVID-19 could see the number of eligible donors decrease in the following few months,” says Silungile Mlambo, spokesperson for the SANBS.
There had been an influx of visitors to the donor centres after the outbreak of the Coronavirus.
SANBS released the following statement in this regard:
“We have noted an influx of visits to our donor centres and several claims on social media about the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) providing testing for the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
We wish to state unequivocally that the SANBS does not conduct testing for Coronavirus at our donor centres.
“Diagnostic tests for COVID-19 are not done on blood, but on throat swabs and sputum samples,” asserted Dr Jackie Thomson, Medical Director of SANBS.
Testing is currently available at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) for free. You can also get tested at Lancet Laboratories and at some National Health Laboratories Services (NHLS).
The SANBS urges donors to take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their fellow 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 encouraged to delay donation until you are in good health.
If you feel you are at risk, have come into contact with someone who has been infected or fear that you may have been infected with COVID-19, speak to your physician for advice. Alternatively, contact the toll-free NICD hotline on 0800 029 999.”
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, as from 13 March 2020, can confirm eight (8) additional new imported COVID-19 cases that have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 – the causative pathogen for COVID-19. This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases to 24 in four provinces across the country, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Western Cape and Mpumalanga.