STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden’s H&M, the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, said on Friday it had started production of protective face masks for hospital staff and would ship the first batches to Spain and Italy.

“At this first stage, 100,000 face masks will be produced and ready for delivery on April 2. Half will go to Italy and half to Spain. It is a factory in China that makes the masks,” a H&M spokeswoman said in an email.

H&M said last week it was looking into using its supply network to source personal protective equipment for hospitals to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The masks are of the N95/FFP2 standard that protects from the droplets through which the virus spreads.

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom, editing by Johan Ahlander)