Malaysia’s Karex Bhd makes one in every five condoms globally. It 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.

That is already a shortfall of 100m condoms, normally marketed internationally by brands such as Durex, supplied to state healthcare systems such as Britain’s NHS or distributed by aid programmes 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.