Brit calls on expats to donate blood amidst Covid-19 fears

By Minh Trang   March 14, 2020 | 05:00 am PT
The sight of an empty blood donation ward has prompted a British expatriate to appeal to his peers in Hanoi to become donors. 

With many people scared to donate over the Covid-19 epidemic, blood banks are in short supply. It is now "our turn to come together and help each other. Not only are you helping someone who needs it but you will also receive a few little gifts of thanks," Wayne Worrel told people in a Facebook group for expats living in Hanoi on Friday.

He said medical staff at the blood donation spot can converse in both English and Vietnamese.

Worrel donates his blood at a collection spot on Luong Ngoc Quyen Street on March 13, 2020. Photo courtesy of Wayne Worrel.

Worrel donates his blood at a collection spot on Luong Ngoc Quyen Street on March 13, 2020. Photo courtesy of Wayne Worrel.

He also attached a map showing people how to get to the collection spot at 26 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street, Hanoi's Hoan Kiem District.

The 54-year-old teacher told VnExpress that he decided to donate his blood after learning that blood banks in the capital city are running dry over the novel coronavirus fears. "I have lived in Vietnam for 10 years. I want to support this country," he said.

Worrel said he went to the blood collection spot on Friday afternoon and finished all procedures in just 20 minutes. As he saw no one around, he asked a nurse to take a photo of him and posted it on Facebook to call for support from local residents.

"I know you are afraid of the virus, but life goes on. Let’s imagine, someone has an accident and there is no blood left," said Worrel, father of three. 

"The community must give a hand. No matter what color our skins are, our blood is red."

Wayne’s post has attracted more than 3,000 likes and 200 comments. Many expats in Hanoi said that they would donate their blood.

"I have never donated my blood in Hanoi but I think I should do it to help the country that’s giving us a lot," said Daniel Burke, 30, teacher at an international school. 

As the number of Covid-19 infections rises in Vietnam, donors have stopped visiting blood banks for fear of contracting the virus.

Since last Saturday, up to 70 registrations for donating blood at the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion in Hanoi had been cancelled. This meant that some 12,000 blood units, or 3,000 liters of blood, would not be added to the blood bank this month.

Vietnam has officially confirmed 53 Covid-19 cases so far, 37 of them within the past week.

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