The world’s largest manufacturer of surgical gloves is temporarily shutting down more than half of its factories despite record demand – as more than 1,000 employees have tested positive for the coronavirus, authorities said on Monday.
Top Glove in Malaysia has racked up record profits this year as demand for protective equipment skyrocketed during the pandemic.
But more than 1,000 workers tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday – which explains most of the record rise in the country and is forcing the company to agree to temporarily shut down 28 of its 41 Malaysian factories.
In total, at least 2,500 cases have been linked to the region’s cluster, officials said.
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“Based on advice from the Ministry of Health, it was agreed at a special meeting today to close 28 Top Glove factories … in stages to allow workers to undergo testing and quarantine,” he said. Defense Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Monday.
Top Glove said in a statement that it “will cooperate fully with the relevant authorities to implement the temporary shutdown” and that plant closures have started.
About 5,700 workers have already been screened and the rest will also undergo testing, he said.
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Top Glove did not say how the closures would affect its ability to fulfill orders. The company is generally able to produce 70 billion gloves per year.
Many of the company’s employees are from Nepal and live in crowded dormitory complexes.