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Coronavirus: Scarcity of condoms looms, world biggest manufacturer warns

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A global shortage of condoms is looming, the world’s biggest producer said, after a coronavirus lockdown forced it to shut down production.

Malaysia’s Karex Bhd makes one in every five condoms globally. It has not produced a single condom from its three Malaysian factories for more than a week due to a lockdown imposed by the government to halt the spread of the virus.

That’s already 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.

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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,” Chief Executive Goh Miah Kiat told Reuters.

“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 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.

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The other major condom-producing countries are China, where the coronavirus originated and led to widespread factory shutdowns, and India and Thailand, which are seeing infections spiking only now.

Makers of other critical items like medical gloves have also faced hiccups in their operations in Malaysia.

In emailed comments, a spokesman for Durex said operations are continuing as normal and the company was not experiencing any supply shortages. “For our consumers, many of whom will be unable to access shops, our Durex online stores remain open for business.”

“The good thing is that the demand for condoms is still very strong because like it or not, it’s still an essential to have,” Goh said. “Given that at this point in time people are probably not planning to have children. It’s not the time, with so much uncertainty.”

Reuters

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Nigeria records 304 new Covid-19 cases

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As the nation continues its fight against the pandemic, 304 new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded on Sunday night, the total number of confirmed cases of the deadly virus is 43841.

This was disclosed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) via its official Twitter handle.

According to the NCDC’s tweet, Lagos recorded 81 of the 304 cases, followed by FCT with 39, Abia with 31 and Kaduna 24.

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The rest are: “Rivers-23, Plateau-16, Cross River-13, Ebonyi-12, Ondo-12, Ekiti-11, Edo-11, Benue-10, Nasarawa-10, Ogun-6, Gombe-5”.

20308 COVID-19 patients have been discharged out of the 43841 total confirmed cases in the country.

However, the infection has claimed 888 lives.

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Oyo discharges 51 Covid-19 patients

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Oyo State government has announced the discharge of 51 COVID-19 patients.

Governor Seyi Makinde made this known in a tweet on Sunday.

Makinde also stated that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state now stands at 1335.

He said,
“51 confirmed COVID-19 cases received their second NEGATIVE test results and have been discharged. This brings the number of discharged cases in Oyo State to 1335.

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“Also, the COVID-19 confirmation tests for eight suspected cases came back POSITIVE. The cases are from Ibadan South West (4), Ibadan North (1), Ibadan South East (1), Ibadan North West (1) and Lagelu (1) LGAs. So, the total number of confirmed cases in Oyo State today is 2768.”

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Coronavirus

South Africa’s corfirmed COVID-19 cases now 503,290

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Coronavirus

South Africa’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 have crossed half a million, its health ministry said on Saturday, while cases in Africa as a whole approached a million.

Africa’s most industrialised nation recorded 10,107 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, pushing the total to 503,290, the ministry said.

Just over 3 million people have so far been tested for the virus in South Africa, which confirmed its first case five months ago, and 8,153 deaths have been recorded. Africa has recorded 934,558 cases, 19,752 deaths and 585,567 recoveries, according to a Reuters tally.

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South Africa imposed a nationwide lockdown at the end of March to curb the spread of the virus, but it has now eased many restrictions to boost economic activity – as have other countries across the continent, a large chunk of whose populations are poor and face hunger.

“The lockdown succeeded in delaying the spread of the virus by more than two months, preventing a sudden and uncontrolled increase in infections in late March,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a separate statement.

As restrictions have eased, infections have spiked over the last two months.

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However, the daily increase in infections appears to be stabilising, particularly in the worst-hit Western Cape, Gauteng and Eastern Cape provinces, Ramaphosa added.

The World Health Organisation’s top emergencies expert Mike Ryan last week warned that South Africa’s experience was a precursor for what was likely to happen across the continent.

The difficulty – if not outright impossibility – of socially distancing in Africa’s poor, tightly packed urban areas, has also been an enabler for the spread of the virus.

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Cases in South Africa, which has the fifth-highest total in the world, have overwhelmed an already stretched healthcare system.

That presents a cautionary tale to the other African countries, whose health services are for the most part even more stretched.

During August, the National Ventilator Project will deliver 20,000 locally-produced, non-invasive ventilators to where they are most needed, Ramaphosa said, as the government continues to mobilise additional facilities, equipment and personnel in provinces still experiencing an increase in infections.

Reuters

Note: Figures valid as of 7am 8 August 2020

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