LVMH will start making hand sanitiser for hospitals to stave off a national shortage across France as the coronavirus outbreak escalates.
The French luxury goods group, which owns fashion house Louis Vuitton, announced it would manufacture the disinfectant gel using the production lines of its perfume and cosmetic gels from Monday.
“These gels will be delivered free of charge to the health authorities,” LVMH said in a statement, in particular the 39 public hospitals in Paris.
The company, which also owns well known brands including champagne maker Moet & Chandon and jeweller Bulgari, will produce 12 tonnes of sanitiser this week instead of the usual Christian Dior, Guerlain and Givenchy fragrances and cosmetics made at its three French sites.
“LVMH will continue to honour this commitment for as long as necessary, in connection with the French health authorities,” the group added.
Meanwhile, French airports group ADP said it would be considering closing down some areas in its main Paris airports to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, adding it was expecting a major financial hit due to the virus.
France’s Public Health Authority reported 36 new deaths from coronavirus on Sunday, taking the total to 127.
It said there had been an increase of more than 1,000 cases of infection as the country braces for the introduction of stricter measures to slow down the spread of the virus.
The country has closed its restaurants, cafes and non-essential stores and many pharmacies have restricted customers to one small bottle of sanitiser per person.
Across the world, the virus has infected an estimated 167,687 people and killed more than 6,000.
In the UK, Boris Johnson is to address the nation on the coronavirus threat later today after meeting ministers and officials to consider measures including banning mass gatherings and lengthy household isolation for the elderly.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said over-70s could be told to stay at home for up to four months within the “coming weeks” as the UK death toll reached 35.
Downing Street has said Mr Johnson or one of his senior ministers will hold daily news conferences to update the public on the fight against coronavirus,