The National Blood Centre has requested those with symptoms similar to that of COVID-19, a close contact of a coronavirus infected person or an individual who has returned from overseas in the past three months, to refrain from visiting the centre to donate blood.
Speaking during a media briefing in Colombo today, to explain the role of the National Blood Transfusion Service during the COVID-19 pandemic, Director of the Centre Dr. Lakshman Edirisinghe said although it has not yet been scientifically proven that the coronavirus is transmitted through blood or its components, the request was being made considering the possibility of the virus being transmitted from a COVID-19 patient to hospital staff.
Tests to identify five infectious diseases are conducted when collecting blood.
Dr. Lakshman Edirisinghe said blood would not be collected from individuals who have received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine within the past seven days as the vaccine may affect these test results.
He said due to the prevailing climate, they are facing several issues to collect blood and therefore, Dr. Edirisinghe requested all eligible persons to donate blood.
He said the National Blood Transfusion Service has provided services without hindering health services.
Dr. Edirisinghe said they have introduced two 24-hour hotlines for the general public to book an appointment to visit the nearest blood donation centre.
He said by contacting the centre through the hotline numbers 011-5332153 and 011-5332154, individuals will be able to obtain a date and a time to donate blood at the centre.