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World stares at condom shortage due to Covid-19 lockdown

The world’s biggest maker of condoms has warned of a global shortage as supply as its stockpile is set to last for just another two months.

Malaysia-based Karex Bhd, the world’s biggest condom maker, had to shut its three factories for a week due to a government-imposed lockdown.

According to Bloomberg, there is already a shortfall of 100 million condoms, normally marketed internationally by brands such as Durex and distributed by aid programmes such as the UN Population Fund.

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

The company said condoms are mainly made in China and India, which are both heavily impacted by the pandemic.

Goh Miah Kiat, group chief executive officer at Karex said demand is growing at “double digits” as governments around the world issue stay-at-home notices and many people abstain from having children due to the uncertain future.

“We are going to see a global shortage of condoms everywhere, which is going to be scary,” he told Bloomberg.

The company manufactures more than five billion condoms a year and exports them to more than 140 countries, which has become more challenging as governments shut borders and airlines cancel flights.

The chief executive also expressed his concern for humanitarian programmes in Africa, which he thinks might experience condom shortages for months.