The French luxury group said that production of the sanitisers will begin at three of its perfume and cosmetics sites in France as soon as this week

French luxury group LVMH announced on Sunday that it would begin producing sanitising hand gel at three of its perfume and cosmetics sites in France, for distribution to French hospitals fighting the country's coronavirus outbreak. Twelve tons will be produced as soon as this week, instead of the usual Christian Dior, Guerlain and Givenchy scents and make-up usually made at the three factories.

They will be delivered "at no charge" to French health authorities, in particular, the 39 public hospitals in Paris, the group said. 

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LVMH logo is pictured before French luxury goods group LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault announces the LVMH 2007 results during a press conference on February 6, 2008, in Paris. LVMH reported that net profit rose eight percent last year to a record of 2.03 billion euros (2.96 billion euros) despite unfavourable exchange rates. AFP PHOTO ERIC PIERMONT / AFP PHOTO / ERIC PIERMONT

"I wish to thank LVMH for acting so quickly: They made us this offer on Saturday night at 9pm (2000 GMT), and confirmed it on Sunday," Paris hospitals chief Martine Hirsch told AFP. Paris hospitals have not yet run out of gel but supplies are "strained," a spokeswoman for the Paris hospital system said, adding that other companies have also said they are ready to donate supplies.

 

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Tourists wearing a protective face mask amid fears of the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus walk at the Pyramide du louvre area on February 28, 2020 in Paris. (Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP)
Above Tourists wearing a protective face mask amid fears of the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus at the Pyramide du louvre area in Paris. (Image: Stephane De Sakutin/AFP)

Fears of catching the new coronavirus have sparked a run on hand gel across France, with many pharmacies restricting clients to one small bottle per person. The government has issued a decree limiting prices after reports some retailers were trying to make extra profit from would-be buyers, with a 100-millilitre bottle now costing no more than three euros.

Producers across France say they have been hiring workers to meet the soaring demand, as authorities urge stringent hand cleaning among measures to curtail the outbreak.

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