Donors needed: Singapore blood supply critically low amid COVID-19 outbreak

Nicholas Yong
·Assistant News Editor
·2-min read
(Getty Images file photo)
PHOTO: Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Authorities are urging Singaporeans to give blood as the country’s blood supply runs dangerously low amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

In response to Yahoo News Singapore’s queries, a Health Sciences Authority (HSA) spokesperson noted on Friday (14 February) that blood stocks in Singapore are currently “trending downwards”. Donors who are healthy and eligible are urged to come forward as patients still need blood donations during this “challenging period”.

According to the Singapore Red Cross website, the blood supply in the Republic is currently low and at critical levels for certain blood groups. To meet daily transfusion needs and bleeding emergencies in the Republic, at least six days’ blood stock must be maintained at all times.

According to the Red Cross website on 14 February 2020, the blood stock in Singapore is currently low and at a critical level for some blood groups. SCREENSHOT: RedCross.sg
According to the Red Cross website on 14 February 2020, the blood stock in Singapore is currently low and at a critical level for some blood groups. SCREENSHOT: RedCross.sg

Out of more than 4 million Singapore residents, there are some 75,000 blood donors in the country, representing just 1.87 per cent. Of these donors, 37 per cent are regulars.

INFOGRAPHIC: Health Sciences Authority
INFOGRAPHIC: Health Sciences Authority

The HSA spokesperson stressed that the risk of contracting COVID-19 while giving blood is assessed to be low, given the additional precautionary measures taken by the agency’s Blood Services Group.

Since 7 February, potential donors and their companions have been screened for fever or respiratory symptoms, such as cough or runny nose, as well as their travel history to mainland China, before they can enter the blood banks or mobile drive premises.

All persons who are unwell, on leave of absence (LOA) or have travelled to mainland China in the last 14 days are not be allowed to enter the premises.

Furthermore, staff at the blood bank are monitoring their own temperatures twice a day, and have been asked to wear masks and see a doctor if they have fever or respiratory symptoms. The frequency of cleaning has also been increased.

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