Malaysian glove maker: supply will continue despite coronavirus restrictions

Bangkok, Mar 27 (efe-epa).- Top Glove, the world’s largest rubber glove manufacturer, on Friday said it could guarantee supply to its customers despite restrictions imposed by Covid-19.

The Malaysian group’s executive president Lim Wee Chai said in an email sent to Efe: “Our plants are producing 100 per cent, 24 hours with two shifts.

“We are working with the necessary safety measures and at full capacity to produce as many gloves as possible.”

He said their factories could produce around 73.4 billion gloves this year and increase capacity to 91.1 billion units by 2021, thanks in part to their high level of automation.

“The group has received numerous orders from Europe, the United States and other countries as well, after the rapid spread of Covid-19 in the world, which has doubled our sales orders,” he added.

Malaysia is the largest producer of medical gloves and this year plans to supply 225 billion units to 190 countries, about 65 per cent of total world demand.

The Malaysian Rubber Gloves Manufacturers Association (MARGMA) has warned the sector may have difficulty meeting global demand due to restrictions imposed in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Top Glove has asked the government to allow it to operate with its entire workforce.

The sector is exempt from limitations on industrial activities in the country but with the condition of employing only half of its workforce.

Some Malaysian manufacturers of rubber gloves have previously been accused of labour abuses and United States authorities banned imports from the Malaysian company WRP Asia Pacific in September last year over allegations they had subjected their workers to forced labour.

The US lifted the veto on Monday, amid a shortage of medical supplies, saying that the company’s standards now comply with international law.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has been warning since early February of a shortage of protective equipment and supplies for doctors and nurses and has called for production to be increased by 40 per cent to meet the increased demand.

It said in a statement that the lack of masks and gloves due to “rising demand, hoarding and misuse” could endanger the lives of health workers who are on the front line in the fight against Covid-19.

The coronavirus outbreak emerged in China in the city of Wuhan, capital of the Hubei province, and has since spread around the world with more than 550,000 infections and 25,000 deaths in 176 countries.

Malaysia has reported more than 2,100 cases and 26 deaths from the disease. EFE-EPA


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