World’s largest surgical glove maker closes factories due to coronavirus

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A Malaysian company that is the world’s largest manufacturer of surgical gloves will close more than half of its factories after a surge in coronavirus cases among workers, authorities said on Monday.

Top Glove has seen a huge increase in demand since the start of the pandemic as countries scrambled to stock up on protective gear, boosting both its profits and its stock price.

But there has been a cluster of virus outbreaks among Top Glove workers – many of whom are low-paid migrant workers – at factories in an industrial area near the capital, Kuala Lumpur.

More than 1,000 cases were recorded on Monday, prompting the government to order factories to close.

“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. said Defense Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Top Glove said in a statement that it “will cooperate fully with the relevant authorities to implement the temporary shutdown,” and plant closures have started.

About 5,700 workers have already been screened and the rest will also undergo testing, he said. Top Glove did not say how the closures would affect its ability to fulfill orders.

The company operates 47 factories – 41 in Malaysia – and many of its workers are from Nepal and live in crowded dormitory complexes.

The company can produce more than 70 billion gloves per year and is a major global supplier.

Malaysia is grappling with a resurgence of the coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 56,000 people and killed 337.

Glove makers nationwide – and other industries – have long been accused of mistreating migrant workers, and the United States in July banned the import of gloves from two Top Glove subsidiaries over labor concerns. strength.

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