In a statement, the IPST is grateful for the mobilisation to donate blood, the "commitment and competence of health professionals" and the help of donor associations in organising collection sessions that have helped to counter a "decrease of around 10 percent in donations", which in a winter context, aggravated by the pandemic, has led to instability in stocks.

"Despite the difficult situation in the country, the response from society was exceptional and unprecedented: Between 19 and 26 January, 8,638 donors registered and 7,009 units of blood were collected in the IPST's Blood and Transplant Centres in Lisbon, Oporto and Coimbra", the document reads.

However, the IPST stresses that the needs for blood and blood components in hospitals "are daily" and that there are constraints on storage, since "blood components have a limited storage time; blood donors, being men, can only donate every three months and women every four months", to which uncertainty about the evolution of the pandemic adds.

"This mobilisation was therefore essential to stabilise blood component stocks at this stage, but the massive turnout also generated long waiting times and discomfort. The IPST therefore reiterates its call to all donors, within their possibilities, to seek blood collection services on a regular and phased basis, since only in this way will it be possible to continue to guarantee the conditions of social distancing, better donor care and the constant and regular distribution of blood units to hospitals", the institute asks.

A week ago, the IPST called for the donation, with the most affected blood groups being A positive, A negative, O negative and B negative.

To be a blood donor, you need to be between 18 and 65 years old (the age limit for the first donation is 60 years), weigh 50 kilos or more and have healthy living habits.