Top Glove worker dorms in Malaysia enter lockdown amid COVID-19 surge

Kuala Lumpur, Nov. 17 (efe-epa).- Rubber manufacturer Top Glove’s worker dormitories and surrounding areas in Malaysia’s Selangor state went into strict lockdown on Tuesday amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Share prices of the world’s largest manufacturer of rubber gloves also slumped in the morning.

An Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) was enforced at the dormitories and in surrounding areas in Klang town, about 40 kilometers west of capital Kuala Lumpur, until Nov. 30, Senior Minister of Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob said at a press conference Monday, according to state news agency Bernama.

The decision taken by the National Security Council comes after 215 people tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the area and the minister said the lockdown would affect some 13,190 Top Glove workers residing in the company’s dormitories, as well as around 1,200 residents in the area.

However, Top Glove said Tuesday that the lockdown would only affect 5,700 of its workers and that its factories in Meru, Klang continued to operate with reduced capacity. It added that the majority of infected workers were asymptomatic.

The minister said that “the EMCO will allow the Health Ministry to carry out targeted screenings on workers and residents there,” and added that “Top Glove will also conduct screenings in its factory and workers’ dormitories.”

On Monday Top Glove said it would “continue to work closely with the relevant authorities, to ensure the safety and well-being of our employees towards flattening the curve and containing the situation.”

“Disinfection exercises at our premises and accommodation are also conducted regularly, with all the necessary precautionary measures strictly in place,” it added.

On Nov. 5, the company announced that 17 of its 21,000-strong workforce had tested positive for COVID-19, and four days later it said the containment was “very much under control” and its operations remained unaffected.

But last Thursday, the company said it had set up isolation houses for employees under quarantine, with strict movement monitoring, as well as the disinfection of factories and hostels and other employee accommodations three times a day, among other measures.

Dormitories, mostly used by migrant workers and often cramped and overcrowded, have also been COVID-19 outbreak hotspots in neighboring Singapore, which saw cases spike in these accommodations in April and August.

COVID-19 cases from the Singapore dorms make up nearly 94 percent of the city-state’s total of around 58,124, according to health ministry data.

Malaysia has accumulated 48,520 confirmed cases, including 313 deaths.

The Southeast Asian country, where some of the rubber industry’s leading companies are based, expects to export 225 billion rubber gloves this year, representing 65 percent of the global demand, according to data from the Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association. EFE-EPA


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