The coronavirus pandemic will cause a global condom shortage, according to the world’s biggest producer.
The Malaysian company, Karex Bhd, makes one in every five condoms globally but has not produced a single one in three weeks because of the lockdown imposed to halt the spread of the respiratory disease.
This has resulted in a shortfall of 100 million condoms, which are normally marketed internationally by brands such as Durex or supplied to state healthcare systems like the United Kingdom’s National Health Service.
The company was given permission to restart production last week, but with only 50% of its workforce, under a special exemption for critical industries.
Karex Bhd’s Chief Executive, Goh Miah Kiat, said: “It will take time to jumpstart factories and we will struggle to keep up with demand at half capacity. We are going to see a global shortage of condoms everywhere, which is going to be scary.
“My concern is that for a lot of humanitarian programs… in Africa, the shortage will not just be two weeks or a month. That shortage can run into months.”