As the deadly coronavirus continues to spread, a number of luxury conglomerates and big-name retailers are collectively donating billions of dollars to help local governments and charitable organizations combat the illness.
Rivals LVMH Moët Hennessy and Kering as well as China-based firms like sportswear manufacturer Anta and e-commerce behemoth Alibaba were among the companies that recently made generous contributions toward supplies, support and research. Officials have confirmed five cases in the United States and roughly 4,500 around the world, leading to more than 100 fatalities.
Yesterday, LVMH — parent company of Fendi, Celine and Christian Dior — pledged 1 million Chinese RMB ($144,000) to the Chinese Red Cross Foundation to assist with a medical supplies shortage in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak in China, according to a Chinese-language statement that FN translated. FN is waiting for confirmation of the exact amount because other media reports have suggested that LVMH made a 16 million RMB ($2.3 million) donation. The multinational conglomerate, which previously contributed toward the Notre Dame Cathedral’s restoration as well as battling wildfires in the Amazon rain forest, also announced that it is “dedicated to helping to obtain and provide important scarce supplies” in France and throughout Europe.
Separately, Gucci, Saint Lauren and Balenciaga owner Kering promised 25 million Chinese RMB ($3.6 million) to the Red Cross Foundation’s efforts in Hubei province, where Wuhan is the capital. The statement announcing this donation was also translated by FN, which awaits confirmation from Kering, since other reports pegged the donation at 7.5 million RMB ($1.08 million). The aid, the international luxury group said in a statement, will be used to care for medical staff and patients at hospitals as well as for public health education.
E-powerhouse Alibaba has offered telemedicine services to Hubei residents through its healthcare unit, AliHealth, allowing people with minor illnesses or other symptoms to undergo an online checkup for free. According to FN sister publication WWD, Alibaba has set up a fund worth 1 billion RMB ($144 million). Athletic apparel brand Anta has also reportedly offered 10 million RMB ($1.44 million) to the Chinese Charity Federation.
On Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged travelers to “avoid all nonessential travel” to China since the respiratory virus can be spread from person to person. Transportation in and out of the city of Wuhan, as well as other cities in Hubei have shut down, while Chinese authorities have extended the Lunar New Year holiday, during which Chinese citizens refrain from work, to Feb. 3 in an effort to halt the spread of the virus.
The World Health Organization determined on Jan. 22 that the current situation does not yet warrant a public health emergency of international concern. However, officials are expected to reconvene at the end of January to evaluate the situation.
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