Malaysia virus outbreak delays production at world’s top glove maker


The world’s largest rubber glove maker said it expects distribution delays of up to four weeks after more than 2,000 workers at its factories contracted coronavirus.

Top Glove, a Malaysian manufacturer, temporarily stopped production at 16 factories in Klang, a town outside Kuala Lumpur, from November 17 to screen workers.

Its remaining 12 factories in the area remained operating at reduced capacities.

However, on Monday, the government ordered all 28 factories to close after 2,453 factory workers tested positive for coronavirus.

The factories will shut down in stages to allow employees to get tested and go into mandatory quarantine.

The health ministry reported 1,511 more cases in the area on Tuesday but didn’t say how many were factory workers. The cluster contributed to a record daily high of 2,188 cases nationwide, bringing Malaysia’s total cases to 58,847.

The cluster in the Klang area is currently the most active in the country with 4,036 cases.

Top Glove produces about 90 billion rubber gloves a year – about one quarter of the world’s supply – and exports to 195 countries. It has seen profits soar amid rising demand for its products due to the pandemic.

In a statement, Top Glove said: “We expect delays in some deliveries by about two to four weeks, as well as a longer lead time for orders, and estimate a possible 3% impact on projected annual sales for financial year 2021.

“To minimise the impact on our customers, we are allocating sales orders to unaffected factories and rescheduling deliveries where possible.”

It said it is working closely with the authorities and implementing stringent health measures, including daily disinfection of the workers’ dormitories and its factories.

Top Glove reportedly has about 13,000 workers at its 28 factories in Klang.

It employs a total of 21,000 workers in its 41 factories in Malaysia and six others in Thailand, Vietnam and China.

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