Thursday 28.05.2020
CORONAVIRUS

Global condom shortage in sight because of coronavirus

“Condom shortage can run into months,” a global producer warns.
Supermarket shelf in Uusimaa region. Photo: Foreigner.fi.
Supermarket shelf in Uusimaa region. Photo: Foreigner.fi.

World’s biggest condom producer has said, a global shortage of condoms is looming, after a coronavirus (koronavirus, in Finnish) lockdown forced it to shut down production.

Malaysia’s Karex Bhd makes one in every five condoms globally. But now it has stopped to produce condoms 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.

That is already a shortfall of 100 million condoms, normally marketed internationally by brands such as Durex, supplied to state healthcare systems distributed by aid programs such as the UN Population Fund.

The company was given permission to restart production on Friday, but with only 50% of its workforce, under a special exemption for critical industries.

"Scary" shortage worldwide

Goh Miah Kiat, CEO of Karex Bhd talked to Reuters and said, “It will take time to jumpstart factories and we will struggle to keep up with demand at half capacity.” He continued, “We are going to see a global shortage of condoms everywhere, which is going to be scary.”

Goh Miah Kiat's biggest concern is that there may not be enough units to supply many humanitarian programs in Africa. According to him, the shortage will not just be two weeks or a month. That shortage can run into months.

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