When the coronavirus is over, the world may have another major problem to contend with and that will be ‘unwanted pregnancies’.
This is because a widespread shortage of condoms looms globally as the world’s largest manufacturer of condoms was forced to shut down production due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Goh Miah Kiat, the Chief Executive of Karex Bhd, the Malaysian company that makes one in every five condoms globally told Reuters about his fears of an impending global shortage of condoms.
“We are going to see a global shortage of condoms everywhere, which is going to be scary,” he said.
Karex Bhd 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 Reuters calculated that this would mean a shortfall of 100 million condoms, normally marketed internationally by brands such as Durex, supplied to state healthcare systems such as Britain’s NHS or distributed by aid programs such as the UN Population Fund.
The company was, however, given permission to restart production on Friday. It would continue production 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,” Goh Miah Kiat said.
“My concern is that for a lot of humanitarian programs deep down in Africa, the shortage will not just be two weeks or a month. That shortage can run into months.”
Malaysia is Southeast Asia’s worst-affected country, with 2,161 coronavirus infections and 26 deaths. The lockdown is due to remain in place at least until April 14.