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A page by the Federal Ministry of Health

Bundesministerium für Gesundheit
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Act and help

Here you can find out how you can help during the coronavirus pandemic. Donate blood or support numerous initiatives.

Social commitment and initiatives

There are various initiatives that you can become involved in. A list of those in need of volunteers is available here.

Donating blood

The healthcare system remains highly reliant on blood donations even during the corona epidemic. Without the availability of donated blood, the care of the sick and injured cannot be ensured. There is no artificial alternative to donating blood. Blood donation services are currently reporting shortages in blood supplies. Donor numbers are unfortunately also on the decline.

As was previously the case, anyone who is healthy and fit can donate blood. The currently applicable eligibility rules ensure a high degree of protection for donors and volunteers. People who may not donate blood are those with flu-like symptoms or a cold, those who have just returned from a risk area in Germany or in another country, and those who have had contact with someone with a coronavirus infection. Those individuals will be deferred and put on a waiting list for four weeks, during which time they will not be allowed to give blood. People infected with coronavirus may not donate blood for two months from the time of their recovery (for additional information see here).

As a precautionary measure, people who have become ill are also being deferred, meaning they are temporarily banned from donating blood. For more information, see the websites of the various blood donation services – for example, the coronavirus information page of the German Red Cross blood donation service in the area where you live.

Yes, blood donations are still being scheduled. You can find a list of the blood donation organisations in your area on the Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) website.

Blood donation appointments are not affected by the restrictions on social interaction, the stay at home rules or the ban on events. Almost all university clinics and hospitals operate blood donation units.

Anyone wanting to donate blood should contact the blood donation organisations to ask about their schedules and requirements for donating blood. Please note that schedules and locations may be changed at short notice subject to local needs. Please check with the blood donation organisation shortly before your scheduled appointment to verify where you need to be and when and with the public municipal and university blood donation services or other organisations, which you can find via the following website.

A high degree of protection continues to be provided for blood donors and for volunteers. The protective measures in place are governed by the currently applicable eligibility rules. Additional hygiene measures are also in place, such as frequent disinfection of surfaces and gloves, or more frequent changing of gloves, and placing the donor chairs further apart.

There is no evidence that the pathogen can be transmitted by blood or blood products. Neither donors nor donated blood are tested as a result. In terms of the safety of preparations used for transfusion recipients, nothing has changed. There is no artificial alternative to donating blood. Without the availability of blood donations, the care of the sick and injured cannot be ensured. Supervisory authorities are closely monitoring and analysing the situation. Here you can find further information.

Corona-Data-Donation app of the Robert Koch Institute

People use the corona data donation app to voluntarily supply the Robert Koch Institute with information to help them better document and understand how coronavirus spreads. Data is collected from fitness bands and smart watches, known as wearables. The data is made available via a smartphone app and can supply information about the symptoms associated with a coronavirus infection. The data released from fitness bands and smart watches is used in conjunction with information from other sources, such as official reports, to enable scientists to obtain a more accurate picture of how the virus spreads.

Users send their various data to the Robert Koch Institute via an app. The data includes information on activity and heart frequency logged by fitness bands and smart watches. The user’s postcode is also logged. New kinds of algorithms can use the data to identify various symptoms which can be associated, among other things, with a coronavirus infection. Using scientific methods, the results are processed for geographic areas. The findings can provide researchers at the Robert Koch Institute with information about where and how fast coronavirus is spreading.

The app is not a coronavirus test. It can’t detect whether you are infected with Covid-19, but it can detect different symptoms that can be associated with coronavirus. These include a faster resting heart rate (an indication of fever) and altered sleeping and activity patterns.

Adults living in Germany who own a fitness band or a smart watch and a smartphone with internet access can use the app.

The corona data donation app was published by the Robert Koch Institute. The app was developed in cooperation with Thryve (mHealth Pioneers GmbH), a company specialised in digital health. Thryve is the technology service provider.

Use of the app is based on an individual user ID (a pseudonym) which the user receives. This is the only way to ensure that data can be correctly assigned and interpreted over a longer period of time. The app is not anonymous, but uses a pseudonym instead. At no time does the Robert Koch Institute have access to your personal information (name or address).

The corona data donation app logs and processes the following data:

  1. Activities automatically and manually logged by the fitness band, such as: a. Exercise (e.g. cycling, running) b. Sleep and phases of sleep c. Movement (e.g. walking, physical activity) d. Rest periods
  2. Vital data automatically and manually logged by the fitness band, such as: a. Pulse b. Heart rate variability c. Stress d. Temperature e. Weight f. Blood pressure
  3. Sociodemographic data where the user has already stored the information on their fitness band: a. Age (rounded to the nearest five years) b. Height (rounded to the nearest five centimetres) c. Gender d. Weight (rounded to the nearest five kilos)

Data on gender and physique along with the data logged by the fitness band are needed to detect possible symptoms. The postcode is logged to enable geographical assessment of how the virus has spread. Users cannot be identified from the collected data.

The following table provides an overview of the data used and supplied by from the various fitness band providers.

To better assess how Covid-19 spreads, broad-based data – meaning data taken from a variety of sources – is needed. The data supplied provides valuable additional information about the novel coronavirus.

The app can be downloaded from the Google play store or the Apple app store.

Yes. There are no costs involved. The corona data donation app is funded by the Robert Koch Institute.