The decision was announced by the brands' owner, the French luxury conglomerate LVMH

By Hanna Flanagan
March 16, 2020 01:15 PM
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Some of the world’s most influential brands owned by French luxury conglomerate LVMH are shifting focus from perfume production to hand sanitizer manufacturing as coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread throughout Europe.

LVMH announced on Sunday that facilities used to manufacture perfumes and cosmetics for its well-known brands, including Christian Dior, Givenchy and Guerlain, will begin to produce large quantities of hand sanitizer starting on Monday.

“Through this initiative, LVMH intends to help address the risk of a lack of product in France and enable a greater number of people to continue to take the right action to protect themselves from the spread of the virus,” the company said in a press release, according to CNN.

Dior boutique
Credit: Getty

LVMH (which is head-quartered in Paris) said gels will be delivered to health officials and the European hospital system, Assistance Publique-Hospitaux de Paris, “free of charge.”

The corporation added that it will “continue to honour this commitment for as long as necessary, in connection with the French health authorities.”

According to NBC, France has more than 5,400 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 127 deaths. The country joins Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and others where government officials have imposed strict restrictions on citizens in an effort to contain the virus — on Sunday, a government order to close restaurants, bars and cinemas in France went into effect.

“A lot of people have not understood that they need to stay at home, and this low level at which people have adhered means that we are not succeeding in curbing the outbreak of the epidemic,” France’s Director of General of Health Jerome Salomon told France Inter radio on Monday. “This morning, I appeal to all French people to mobilize in the fight.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.