40 million health masks have been ordered by LVMH, the world’s biggest luxury goods group, from a Chinese supplier, to help France cope with the coronavirus outbreak.

The first part of the order, a total of 10 million masks, will be delivered in coming days, the conglomerate announced in a statement on Saturday. This initial batch will be given to the French health service for distribution to those in need early next week.

The rest of the order, on which LVMH cooperated with the French government, will be funded by the state and should be delivered in coming weeks. LVMH, owner of brands such as Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton and owned by France’s richest man Bernard Arnault, is already producing and delivering free-of-charge hand sanitiser to French hospitals.

“In order to secure this (mask) order during an extremely tense period and to ensure that the production begins today, Bernard Arnault arranged for LVMH to finance the whole of the first week of deliveries, amounting to 5m euros ($5.4m),” the group said.