Condom shortage looms as coronavirus shuts down production
A global shortage of condoms is looming, as the world’s biggest producer was forced to shut down production because of the coronavirus epidemic.
Malaysia’s Karex Bhd says it has not produced a single condom in its three Malaysian factories for more than a week because of a lockdown imposed by the government to halt the spread of the virus.
The company was given permission to restart production on Friday, 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,” said the chief executive, Goh Miah Kiat.
“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 … in Africa, the shortage will not just be two weeks or a month. That shortage can run into months.”
The other major condom-producing countries are China, where the coronavirus originated and led to widespread factory shutdowns, and India and Thailand, where infections are rising.
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