Rubber glove factory shuts temporarily after 1,000+ tested positive for COVID-19

Employees in a Top Glove factory in June. Photo: Channel 4/YouTube
Employees in a Top Glove factory in June. Photo: Channel 4/YouTube

Top Glove, one of the world’s largest rubber glove manufacturers, has temporarily shut 28 of its factories in Malaysia after over a thousand employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Malaysia recorded 1,884 new infections yesterday, with 1,060 cases linked to several Top Glove factories along Jalan Teratai in the town of Meru, Klang. The country has recorded 56,659 COVID-19 cases so far and the death toll stands at 337.

Since Nov. 18, a total of 2,524 Top Glove employees have tested positive for COVID-19, with 1,913 tests pending results. Despite lockdown restrictions, Top Glove has been allowed to operate at full capacity because it is categorized as an “essential service” as the company makes medical products. 

Top Glove yesterday told the press that 5,700 more employees have been sent for COVID-19 screening with authorities at the Ministry of Health.

“With the assistance of the Ministry of Health (MOH), we have completed full screening of about 5,700 workers at our hostels. We are committed to proceed with the MOH recommended Covid-19 screening test for the remaining workers and staff at our factories in Meru, Klang,” the statement said.

Top Glove has previously been accused of forcing its staff to work and live in cramped, crowded conditions without proper safe distancing, despite the pandemic in June. The company brushed off the June 2020 report by UK’s Channel 4 as “highly inaccurate.”

Screenshot of a Top Glove workers’ dormitory. Photo: Channel 4/YouTube
Screenshot of a Top Glove workers’ dormitory. Photo: Channel 4/YouTube

Top Glove has 41 factories nationwide, mostly located in Selangor’s Klang district. The glove manufacturer has other plants in countries such as Thailand, Germany and China. Top Glove exports surgical gloves, masks, and other rubber-based products to 195 countries worldwide including the UK and US.

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