Belgium's blood reserves hit 'critical' low amid coronavirus lockdown

Belgium's blood reserves hit 'critical' low amid coronavirus lockdown
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Blood stocks in Belgium have hit dangerously low levels even as blood drivers struggle to draw donations back in even as the country moves forward with lifting the coronavirus lockdown.

"Despite the significant progression of the lockdown exit, this period continues to have heavy consequences for blood donation services," Red Cross Belgium said in a statement.

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The non-profit said that the cancellation of blood drives due to the coronavirus lockdown sent blood bag stocks on a downward spiral, and that thousands of extra donations were needed before the start of the summer break.

"The hundreds of cancelled blood drives and the thousands of uncollected blood bags sill heavily impact the current state of our stocks," which it said were at a "critical level."

"To have a chance to spend the summer serenely, we need to collect almost 3,000 more blood bags than what we currently project to collect in the coming weeks," the Red Cross said.

The association is calling on residents of Belgium who will spend the summer in the country to donate blood at one of their centres.

A new campaign, set to be launched this week, will use a play on words in French to rename the 16 blood drive centres after popular resort destinations, such as "Saing Tropez" or "Saing Domingue."

Throughout the first wave of the coronavirus in Belgium, the Red Cross has partnered with federal health institute Sciensano to carry out research on the population's  immunity to the new coronavirus (Covid-19).

Empty blood bags have been used to screen donors' for coronavirus antibodies, central in Sciensano's monitoring of Belgium's herd immunity levels, which the institute still remain significantly low.

The Brussels Times

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