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World’s Largest Rubber Glove Maker Cuts Production Due to COVID-19 Outbreak

Glove workers wait in line for food distribution outside a hostel under enhanced lockdown, in Klang, Malaysia.

Officials in Malaysia say the world’s top rubber glove manufacturer is shutting down 28 of its factories after more than 2,000 workers tested positive for COVID-19.

The government ordered the Top Glove company to shut the factories in stages to allow for all employees to get screened and a mandatory quarantine for those who test positive. The Health Ministry reported that 2,453 workers tested positive for the virus after more than 5,700 were screened.

The government reports a sharp surge in COVID-19 cases in the industrial area outside Kuala Lumpur where the company’s factories and employee dormitories are located.

Top Glove said in a statement it would "cooperate fully with the relevant authorities to implement the temporary stoppage,” and that plant closures had begun. The company said it expects two-to-four-week delays in deliveries as a result of the closures.

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and global demand for personal protective equipment, the company has reported record profits this year. The company says it produces 90 billion gloves per year, and controls more than a quarter of the world’s market share for surgical gloves.

The company employs 21,000 workers in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and China and exports its products to 195 countries.