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Red Cross makes urgent plea for blood donations

The Red Cross says it is urgently needs people to keep donating blood, despite the coronavirus outbreak.

The Red Cross says it is urgently needs people to keep donating blood, despite the coronavirus outbreak. Photo: AAP

Australians are being urged to continue donating blood amid the coronavirus emergency, with the Red Cross Lifeblood group saying there is no evidence COVID-19 can be transmitted by blood transfusion.

Lifeblood says 14,000 new and existing donors are needed in coming weeks to bolster supplies ahead of the Easter period and the annual cold and flu season.

Chief executive Shelly Park said at the start of 2020 the organisation had a “phenomenal” response from donors following the nation’s bushfire emergency.

“However, those generous donors now have to wait 12 weeks before they are able to donate again,” she said on Tuesday.

Lifeblood needs to collect about 29,000 blood and plasma donations every week across Australia.

Ms Park said, as well as fewer people able to donate in coming weeks, last-minute cancellations were putting a dent in blood stocks “at a time when donors are in urgent need”.

“As we all know, there is no substitute for blood,” she said.

“It is a critical resource, and right now, we need more people booking appointments to donate.”

Ms Park reassured the community that there was “no evidence coronavirus is transmittable by blood transfusion”.

“The organisation has robust processes in place to ensure the safety of the blood supply and our donors, and we don’t allow people who are unwell to donate blood,” she said.

“Our donor centres are safe places to visit and we will take all necessary steps to ensure that stays the case.”

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