The Japanese Red Cross Society is on alert as the outbreak of the new coronavirus in the nation has lead to a sharp decrease in the number of blood donors, partly due to the cancellation of many major events nationwide.

The Red Cross is calling for donations out of concern that the treatment of patients needing blood transfusions could be affected if the number of donors remains at the current level.

The number of blood donors has been decreasing across the country since Feb. 18 when the government called for large-scale events to be postponed. In the five days from Feb. 25, when the government adopted a basic policy for tackling the new coronavirus, the number of donors fell to about 6,000 fewer than the target, and the Red Cross was able to collect blood equivalent to only 87.7 percent of the planned level.

The Red Cross sends mobile blood donation units to companies and the sites of events to seek public cooperation. But such blood donation campaigns have been or are to be canceled at more than 700 locations due to companies promoting teleworking and events being called off amid the viral outbreak, according to the organization.

“We continuously need blood donations from some 13,000 people a day because blood can’t be stored for a long period,” said Masahiro Takikawa, an official of the organization.

The Red Cross is asking people planning to donate blood to make a reservation by 5 p.m. on the day before they visit donation sites in order to prevent the locations from being overwhelmed with donors at certain times of the day.

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