French sports retailer Decathlon is to donate its entire stock of Subea Easybreath full-face snorkelling masks to hospitals in Spain, one of the countries worst-affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Spanish press.
Divernet reported on 27 March that Isinnova engineers in Italy had found a way of converting the snorkelling masks into respirators, using 3D printing to make the valves needed to connect them to ventilators.
The breakthrough was seen as a way of tackling a severe shortage of medical CPAP and BIPAP ventilator masks.
Decathlon was initially reported to have been selling the masks for medical use but it is understood that it has now taken them off the market in order to donate existing stocks to hospitals at no charge.
The adapted masks are not certified for biomedical use and patients must sign a waiver before making use of them.
However, hospital staff in various countries are also understood to have been turning to full-face snorkelling masks for their own protection. where there is a shortage of visors and goggles.
Meanwhile in Italy dive-equipment manufacturer Mares has taken up the idea and is donating 5000 of its Sea Vu Dry full-face snorkelling masks for the fight against coronavirus.
The masks are being delivered to hospitals initially in northern Italy for application both using the newly developed 3D-printed valve that allows them to be attached to ventilators, and as protective visors for medical staff.