China’s Blood Banks In Emergency Mode Again Amid COVID-19 Surge

China’s Blood Banks In Emergency Mode Again Amid COVID-19 Surge

Authored by Kathleen Li, Kane Zhang, and Angela Bright via The Epoch Times,

Blood bank emergencies have occurred frequently across China since COVID-19. As the new year approaches, many local blood banks are again in short supply, with some provinces calling on the public to donate blood and some issuing red alerts as the nation’s blood supply fails to keep pace with demand.

The blood supply crisis comes as China relaxes its long-standing zero-COVID rules, fueling a corresponding rise in cases. After the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) issued “10 New Guidelines” for epidemic prevention on Dec. 7, reported COVID-19 cases surged in many places in China, leading to a dramatic drop in blood donations.

In an attempt to alleviate the shortage, China’s National Health Commission announced Saturday that most recovered COVID patients must wait only seven days after testing negative to donate blood. The previous waiting period was six months.

The revised guidelines also allow donations by close contacts and secondary close contacts of COVID-19 infections, as well as people who have traveled to medium and high-risk areas.

Blood Shortages Across China

At least eight provinces have reported a blood shortage since December, according to Chinese news site Caixin. Hospitals are prioritizing blood for critically ill patients. Elective surgeries are being postponed, and even some routine patients are being forced to postpone blood use.

In Jinan, the capital of Shandong Province, the blood center is currently collecting only about 100 units of blood per day (200 ml per unit). Jinan needs at least 700 units of blood per day to meet the basic supply requirements for clinical use.

Jiangsu Province, adjacent to Shandong, is also facing a blood bank emergency. On Dec. 13, Jiangsu Province Blood Center released an appeal to the people of Nanjing, its capital city.

The appeal stated that under China’s zero-COVID policy, blood donations dropped sharply. It blamed the low flow of people on the streets, and a lack of group blood donations due to the shutdown of Nanjing’s universities. However, the demand for blood has not fallen, and “blood inventory has fallen below the minimum inventory warning line,” the appeal says.

According to a Dec. 14 report on Jiangsu Provincial Radio and Television, the province’s blood center indicated that it only had Type A blood reserves for three days, with reserves of less than five days for other blood types.

Blood supplies from some areas are being diverted to larger cities such as Beijing, which have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 surge.

China is no stranger to COVID-related blood shortages. Beijing issued a Voluntary Blood Donation Initiative as early as March 7, 2020, as reported by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) owned newspaper The Beijing News. In July 2020, the Beijing Red Cross Blood Center reported that from late January to early February of that year, the amount of blood donated was sometimes less than one-sixth of that in the same period in 2019.

Resources Diverted to Hard-hit Beijing

On Dec. 7, Heze, which has a shortage of blood for clinical use, provided 50,000 milliliters of blood to Beijing.  Shandong state-run Haibao News reported that Beijing is facing difficulties in collecting blood donations without compensation, and Heze has been asked to support the capital with blood supplies. This is the second time Heze offered assistance to Beijing in 2022.

On Dec. 15, a pregnant woman in Qianshahai village in Heze suffered a massive hemorrhage and appealed to her fellow villagers to donate blood to save her life. Chinese media said only that the woman was “in urgent need of a massive blood transfusion” but did not mention why the hospital could not provide blood to her.

People line up at the fever clinic of a hospital as COVID-19 outbreaks continue in Beijing on Dec. 9, 2022. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

By Dec. 7, the central blood station in Heze had provided support to other areas 10 times.

Appealing to Individuals for Help

Shandong province’s blood center said that it could only appeal to the public to donate blood on an individual basis. Group blood donation, which typically accounts for a significant percentage of China’s donated blood, is “difficult and almost impossible” due to the pandemic, a blood center official told The Epoch Times on Dec. 16.

“We can only rely on street blood donation [centers], but there are still very few people on the street now,” the official said.

With many businesses and schools shuttered, and residents staying home for fear of infection, street-side blood donation centers are seeing little business.

Tyler Durden
Tue, 12/20/2022 – 11:45


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *