Decathlon France has blocked online sales of its “Easybreath” snorkelling masks so it can offer 30,000 of them to hospitals that want to turn them into makeshift ventilators.
The Easybreath is a full face facial mask from the Decathlon brand, usually used for snorkelling. This model is of interest to hospitals, universities and research centres facing the COVID-19 epidemic.
They plan to adapt it in two ways: either to protect healthcare workers who lack medical masks, or to modify and connect them to a respirator, said a spokeswoman for the management of Decathlon.
The idea was born in Italy, starting with “500 masks offered” by the Italian branch of Decathlon.
A hospital produced a prototype fitted with a valve installed in place of the snorkel at the top of the mask, making it possible to make the connection with a respirator and to supply a patient with pressurised air.
The revelation made international headlines at the beginning of the week.
The spokesperson also said: “Over the past few days, we have been contacted by dozens of hospitals and research centres in Italy, France, but also in Belgium, in Germany, […] who also want to have masks for carrying out tests.”
On Monday evening, the French branch of Decathlon therefore blocked sales to individuals of this product, which is one of the bestsellers and whose sales have soared in recent weeks, to make them available free of charge to caregivers and emergency personnel.
30,000 pairs of swimming goggles will also be offered and for reasons of speed of delivery of these donations, we are focusing our efforts in the regions currently most affected by COVID-19: Ile-de-France, Hauts-de- France, Grand Est, Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, specifies Decathlon.
To organise distribution as well as possible, Decathlon invites all caregivers who wish to make their requests to an email address created for the occasion: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Decathlon is also making the technical plans for the facial mask available to hospitals and research centres.
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