People returning from places with level 2 and level 3 travel advisories amid the COVID-19 pandemic must wait 28 days before donating blood, the Taiwan Blood Services Foundation said yesterday.
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has issued a level 3 “warning” travel advisory for China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Macau and South Korea, while a level 2 “alert” travel advisory has been issued for Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, France, Germany, Iceland, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the US states of Washington, New York and California.
Starting from Tuesday, the travel advisories for Dubai, Ireland, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, the UK, and all of the EU, except for Bulgaria and Croatia, are to be raised to level 3, the center added yesterday.
To ensure safe blood, people must not donate blood within 28 days of leaving these countries and regions, the foundation said, adding that the same rule applies to those who have come into close contact with people infected or who have recovered from COVID-19.
All blood donors would have their temperature checked and their hands sanitized before donating blood, it said.
The foundation said that it is providing health counseling to donors and stepping up sanitation efforts at all of its donation stations.
If a blood donor develops a fever or exhibits signs of other pneumonia-like symptoms shortly after donating blood, they should promptly contact the donation station that they visited to inform them of their situation.
In other news, CECC advisory specialist panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) yesterday said that while the nation has no plans to follow the Netherlands’ example and screen all medical personnel for COVID-19, it might at some point conduct antibody testing to see whether people have ever been infected with the virus.
Mass screenings are usually implemented when there is community spread, but the nation has been able to limit the virus’ spread to isolated or imported cases, so it would not be adopting the method, he said.
The only case of cluster infection so far began after the 34th patient was hospitalized, Chang added.
An option that the CECC is considering involves the detection of antibodies, which would allow screening in greater numbers over a shorter period, he said, adding that testing the serum can determine whether someone previously contracted the coronavirus.
Additional reporting by Lin Hui-chin
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