European manufacturing companies are in talks with governments about pivoting from their usual product ranges to supplying needed equipment and consumables for combatting the Coronavirus outbreak.
While several British engineering companies including Rolls Royce Aero Engines and tractor-excavator manufacturer JCB are having talks with the UK government about switching production to combat the national shortage of hospital ventilators Monday, in France one company is already delivering a short-supply product to aid the coronavirus response.
Luxury goods manufacturer LVMH has switched from producing perfumes — its brands including Christian Dior, Guerlain and Givenchy — to hand sanitiser, saying it will deliver “significant quantities” of gel to Paris-area hospitals free of charge, reports France 24.
The company offered the hand sanitiser over the weekend and the first bath is expected to be delivered as early as Monday, according to reports.
As Breitbart London reported Sunday, the British government is now calling on domestic industrial firms to come forwards if they are able to pivot their work away from non-essential products towards ventilators. The machines which artificially aid breathing are essential for illnesses like coronavirus which cause respiratory problems in casualties, but there are not presently enough in the country for the anticipated levels of demand, and importing machines will be difficult given global conditions.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 15, 2020
Giving an update on the situation Monday, health secretary Matt Hancock said there had been an “enthusiastic” response from companies that could potentially make ventilators, hailing the programme a “National Effort for Ventilator production”.
One company that had been suggested as a potential contributor is Tory donor Lord Bamford’s JCB, which produces heavy plant machinery. The point that earth-moving machinery and medical equipment tend to exist in quite different areas of industrial manufacture was one Lord Bamford alluded to in his response on Sunday, when he said: “We have been approached by the Prime Minister to see if we can help with the production of ventilators. We have research and engineering teams actively looking at the request at the moment. It’s unclear as yet if we can assist, but as a British company, we will do whatever we can to help during the unprecedented times our country is facing.”
Also named was precision engineering aeronautics firm Rolls Royce Aero Engines and Unipart, a manufacturing and logistics firm that was once part of British Leyland.