Large glove factories close after thousands of workers test positive for COVID-19

The world’s largest rubber glove manufacturer said this week that orders are delayed by weeks and some of its factories will shut down after thousands of workers have given a positive result to COVID-19.

“To minimize the impact on customers, we are allocating sales orders to non-affected factories and rescheduling deliveries where possible,” Top Glove Corp. of Malaysia said in a statement.

The company said delivery could be delayed by up to four weeks and new orders could take even longer.

As Reuters notes report, the company ‘s shares appreciated this year due to high demand for personal protective equipment. The company leads a quarter of the global latex glove market.

Top Glove operates 47 factories in Asia, 36 of which manufacture gloves. Previously, it had to close 16 factories and reduce the capacity of 12 others. In its statement, the company did not say how many factories would be affected by the new order.

Ng Bei Shan, an analyst at Industrial Development Financial Research in Malaysia, said Top Glove’s production capacity is likely to drop to its usual 50%.

Malaysia produces nearly two-thirds of all rubber gloves in the world, according to the Association of Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers. The other two major glove manufacturers, Hartalega Holdings and Supermax Corp, do not think they will be able to make up for the expected delay caused by the shutdown of Top Glove.

Klang, a region west of Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, where Top Glove’s factories and colleges are located, has seen an increase in new cases, according to the country’s health ministry.

To overcome this cluster that Malaysia has seen so far, the country has raised barbed wire in front of workers ’hostels and set up checkpoints with police and soldiers.