Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent manufacturing coronavirus face masks
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Luxury fashion houses Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent are preparing to manufacture face masks for French health care providers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as mask shortages are reported across the globe.

Kering, the global luxury group that owns both fashion houses, said in a statement that Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent will be making the masks in compliance with the “strictest health protection measures for their staff members, with production getting underway as soon as the manufacturing process and materials have been approved by the relevant authorities.”

The group, which also owns Alexander McQueen and Gucci, said it will also be donating 3 million surgical masks purchased and imported from China to the French health service to do its part in combating the outbreak.

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The move comes after the group made similar charitable contributions in China, it said, as well as to several major hospitals earlier this month in four Italian cities: Lombardy, Veneto, Tuscany and Lazio. Italy has seen the worst outbreak of the virus outside of China, where the novel coronavirus was first detected late last year.

Kering said Gucci could also be “able to donate 1,100,000 surgical masks and 55,000 medical overalls in the coming weeks, subject to relevant authorizations.”

According to the latest John Hopkins University data, more than 372,000 cases of the virus have been confirmed worldwide, including more than 20,000 cases reported in France.

More than 16,300 deaths from the disease have also been recorded overall, as well as more than 100,000 recoveries, so far.