Prague, Feb 26 (CTK) – Some hospitals in Prague have been rejecting blood donors if they stayed abroad recently, as a preventive measure over the new coronavirus that has spread from China to a number of states in the past weeks, a CTK survey has shown.
The General Teaching Hospital (VFN) has been declining all who turn up to donate their blood after returning from any European state except Slovakia. These donors must wait one month before being admitted.
In the Vinohrady Teaching Hospital (FNKV) and the Thomayer Hospital, only blood donors who stayed in Italy recently are rejected, since Italy is the world’s country with the third highest number of coronavirus cases after China and South Korea.
Some commercial centres for plasma donation have also introduced restrictions.
Italy has the third highest number of people infected with the novel coronavirus (more than 300) after China and South Korea.
The head of the FNKV blood transfusion department said that no general recommendation has been issued for hospitals in this respect, and that even before the coronavirus outbreak, the people who travelled outside Europe were excluded from blood donation for a month following their return home.
An updated table on the FNKV’s website shows that those who travelled across Europe are excluded from blood donation for one week, except for those returning from Italy and the Canary Islands, who are excluded for one month.
In all hospitals, a six-month blood donation ban applies to those who returned from areas affected by malaria.
The VFN has written on its website that it is newly preventively declining the donors who returned from abroad less than one month ago, with Slovakia being the only exception.
The VFN has also toughened its restrictions for selected non-European countries. On return from China, for example, people must not donate their blood for six months.
In any case, people are asked to inform the transfusion centres’ staff on where they travelled in recent months. The staff have no instruments to verify whether the donors tell the truth.
Some centres for blood plasma donation have also introduced restrictions.
The Sanaplasma centre says on its website that people must not donate plasma within six months since their return from China. The Europlasma centre calls on donors to postpone their visits to the centre until at least four weeks passed since their return from China, Japan, South Korea, Iran and northern Italy.
“However, COVID-19 is no risk for the safety of plasma therapies and the patients using them, mainly thanks to massive measures during the blood plasma processing,” Milan Maly, from the Plasmapheresis Association, told CTK.
The new coronavirus, spreading from mainland China since December, has been contracted by more than 81,000 people in the world, including 78,000 in mainland China and some 360 in Europe. A total of 98 people were tested for the novel coronavirus in Czechia so far, all negative.