World faces condom shortage as factories forced to shut down to stop coronavirus spread
For over a week, Malaysia's Karex Bhd hasn't made a single condom in its Malaysian factories
Malaysia: Due to coronavirus, a global shortage of condoms looms large, the world's biggest producer said.
According to Reuters, Malaysia's Karex Bhd makes one in every five condoms globally. But it has not produced any condom in its Malaysian factories for more than a week due to a lockdown imposed by the government to halt the spread of the virus.
It is reported that there is already a shortfall of 100 million condoms, normally marketed internationally by brands such as Durex, supplied to state healthcare systems such as Britain's NHS or distributed by aid programmes such as the UN Population Fund.
On Friday, the company was given permission to restart production, but with only 50% of its workforce, under a special exemption for critical industries.
"It will take time to jumpstart factories and we will struggle to keep up with demand at half capacity," chief executive Goh Miah Kiat told Reuters.
"We are going to see a global shortage of condoms everywhere, which is going to be scary," he said. "My concern is that for a lot of humanitarian programmes deep down in Africa, the shortage will not just be for two weeks or a month. That shortage can run into months."
One of the other major condom-producing countries is China, where the coronavirus outbreak originated and led to widespread factory shutdowns. India and Thailand are seeing infections spiking only now.