KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Top Glove has reported that a worker died on Saturday due to COVID-19, the first death since the outbreak at its dormitories and factories in October.
The manufacturer told Reuters in an email that the 29-year-old worker from Nepal had worked at its manufacturing facility in Klang, 40 km west of the capital Kuala Lumpur, for more than two years.
Top Glove’s complex of factories and dormitories in Klang has become Malaysia’s biggest coronavirus cluster with more than 5,000 infections, about 94 per cent of them foreigners, the country’s health ministry said in a statement on Dec 1.
On Dec 9, Top Glove said that a total of 5,147 workers in its Klang factories have tested positive for COVID-19.
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Top Glove, the world’s largest glove maker, makes a quarter of the world’s medical rubber gloves, up to about 250 million per day.
It runs 47 plants in all, 41 in Malaysia and the remainder in Thailand, China and Vietnam. Thirty-six of them produce gloves. It has about 16,000 factory employees, just over half of them in factories in Klang.
The Malaysian government ordered Top Glove on Nov 23 to begin shutting its factories in stages, so workers could be tested.
The country’s labour department said earlier this month it would file charges against Top Glove over its worker accommodation, which it found to be cramped and poorly ventilated.
On Dec 7, Top Glove told Reuters in a statement that it introduced temperature screening and more regular sanitisation of factories, offices, transport vehicles and dormitories at the beginning of the pandemic, and that it is in the process of improving its workers’ accommodation.
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