LEADING sports retailer Decathlon has blocked the sale in store and online of its full face scuba masks and donated its total stock to Spanish hospitals.

The popular masks have been removed from sale, as engineers in Italy have managed to convert the items into respirators using state of the art 3D printing technology, meaning they provide life saving treatment for the most serious cases of COVID-19.

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A nurse tests out the newly adapted mask which is hoped to bring much needed relief to the hospitals in Spain

The idea of converting the masks was the brainchild of Belgium doctor Frederic Bonnier, a respiratory physiotherapist at the Erasme Hospital in Brussels.

He discovered that by producing a custom valve at the top of the mask where the snorkel normally sits, the mask can be attached to a standard BiPAP machine so it can feed pressurised air into the mask.

So far Italy has spearheaded the innovation as the country has been one of the worst affected, but the retailer is adopting the donations across its European branches.

The donations will come as a welcome relief to the Spanish healthcare system whose hospitals are desperately trying to keep up with the demand for medical equipment after another day of record cases.

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