The French luxury group LVMH said 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.
"I wish to thank LVMH for acting so quickly: They made us this offer on Saturday night at 9:00 pm (20:00 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.
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-milliliter bottle now costing no more than three euros ($3.30).
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.