The Irish Blood Transfusion Service has moved to allay any fears that blood donor recipients may have during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Stephen Field, medical director at the IBTS, said while a lot is still unknown about coronavirus, there is no evidence of transmission through blood.

"Experts do not believe that this is a transfusion transmissible virus but we are not 100% sure of that.

"We would always take the precautionary route as we do with all other viruses and exclude anybody who has the symptoms.

"Should anybody donate and find they have symptoms afterwards we would withdraw any blood that they have donated within the previous five days," he added.

The Health Products Regulatory Authority, which is responsible for monitoring the safety and quality of blood in Ireland, has said that the most recent assessment from the European Centre for Disease Protection and Control indicates that the transmission of respiratory viruses by transfusion or transplantation has not been reported.

It said that based on current knowledge, the risk of Covid-19 transmission through blood donation appears to be theoretical.

It said, however, that precautionary measures to mitigate the theoretical risk have been communicated to all relevant stakeholders, including the IBTS.

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service has said the numbers donating have dropped in recent weeks but it still needs to collect at least 80% of its normal supply.

Cancer patients, trauma cases and newborn babies will still require transfusions.

The IBTS has put in place new safety measures to minimise risks to donors concerned about the spread of Covid 19.

Clinics are by appointment only to allowance nurses to manage attendance and ensure physical distancing.

Sonia Keenan, a clinical nurse manager based in the north east, said donors are also asked a number of questions before they enter the clinic.

"We're asking them if they've travelled anywhere abroad in the last 14 days, if they've had any symptoms of Covid-19 and if they've been around anyone who has symptoms," she said.