There are fears about the long-term implications of a global condom shortage after the world’s largest manufacturer was forced to stop production due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Karex Berhad’s three factories in Malaysia have been shut for 10 days already, meaning there are already 100 million fewer condoms, the company’s chief executive Goh Miah Kiat told news agency Reuters.
The company, which produces one in five of the world’s condoms, is now appealing to the Malaysian government for a partial exemption from a nationwide lockdown.
The country is the worst affected in South-East Asia, with 2,161 coronavirus infections and 26 deaths.
But without being able to reopen, Mr Goh said there would be a “global shortage” of condoms, which could potentially impact “a lot of humanitarian programmes… for months”.
What’s more, he added, demand “is still very strong”, which is no bad thing “given that at this point in time people are probably not planning to have children”.
“It’s not the time, with so much uncertainty.”
Karex supplies companies like Durex and organisations like the NHS and the UN Population Fund.