Blood supplies running low in China due to a spike in respiratory illnesses

Beijing, Dec 17 (IANS) China is facing a shortage of blood — a problem blamed on the current spike in respiratory illness, the cold snap and a fall in the number of donors, the media reported.

Local authorities and blood centres in several of the biggest provinces, including Henan, Shandong, Fujian, Hubei and Shanxi, have warned of a sharp drop in the number of donations and appealed for people to contribute, South China Morning Post reported.

According to state-controlled news outlet ThePaper.cn, blood stocks in Xinxiang, a city in Henan province, were running so low that they threatened the supply for operations and other hospital needs, SCMP reported.

The city’s publicity department and local Red Cross Society issued an urgent appeal on Friday, saying demand was surging but fewer people were donating because it was winter.

Yuncheng, a city in the central province of Shanxi, issued a similar appeal for donors, saying donations had fallen dramatically after temperatures “dropped off a cliff” while respiratory illnesses surged.

“The number of people choosing to have surgery has greatly increased … and clinical blood consumption has been running at a high level, resulting in severe difficulties and challenges in meeting the blood demand,” the centre told ThePaper.

China relies on voluntary donors for blood supplies and had a similar shortage crisis a year ago when Covid-19 cases soared following an abrupt end to most pandemic controls. That prompted the authorities to relax the guidelines on giving blood, SCMP reported.

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