Mumbai: The State Blood Transfusion Council has decided to put postpone blood donation camps in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, it will continue to organise drives on a small scale because the outbreak of the virus has resulted in 40 per cent drop in the number of donors, sparking fears of blood shortage across the state.
Each day, new cases are being reported across the state, constraining the council to issue a circular, asking blood banks to postpone these camps or organise smaller ones, to avoid mass gatherings.
“We cannot cancel blood camps as the time from March to May is crucial when the state faces blood shortage, with most donors being on vacation.
To solve this problem, we have directed all blood banks and non-governmental organisations to conduct small camps, where only about 50 or fewer people will be present, thereby reducing the risk of exposure to coronavirus,” he said.
Dr Thorat further said, prospective donors will have to undergo a thorough examination and provide details of their travels and activities in the last 28 days.
“We have advised blood banks to collect travel histories of donors and details of whether they may have come in contact with any person who had travelled to corona-infected countries. Moreover, people who show up with symptoms such as a runny nose, fever or cold will not be allowed to donate,” he added.
Dr Sumir Dembla, blood bank officer at the VN Desai Blood Bank in Andheri said, “It is our humble request to all young healthy donors to walk into nearby government/ BMC blood bank (wearing protective masks) and donate blood because it is possible that the corona scare could affect donation camps.
Most blood banks are situated away from hospital OPDs or wards and are in isolated places, away from the crowds of patients visiting hospitals or those hospitalised. So there is no need to be scared, it is very safe.”