KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian authorities lifted a month-long lockdown on dormitories housing Top Glove Corp workers on Monday, even as the firm reported the first death among its employees from COVID-19.
Last month the government put in place strict movement controls and ordered Top Glove, the world’s largest glove maker, to shut its factories in stages after more than 5,000 employees tested positive for COVID-19.
Security Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a statement the lockdown could now be lifted as there were no more pending test results, while workers who had tested negative had already completed two rounds of quarantine.
The government has also allowed 14 Top Glove factories to resume operations, while 14 others will be reopened in stages, Ismail Sabri said.
The announcement came as Top Glove reported the death of a 29-year-old worker from Nepal due to COVID-19 pneumonia with lung fibrosis.
The worker had been employed at Top Glove’s manufacturing facility in Klang, 40 km (25 miles) west of the capital Kuala Lumpur, for more than two years, the manufacturer told Reuters in an email.
SHARE PRICE UNDER PRESSURE
Top Glove shares fell as much as 9.4%, alongside other glove stocks, amid reports of increasing availability of COVID-19 vaccines, which is likely to reduce demand for the medical gloves that the company produces.
The share price was also hit by reports from Reuters and other media on conditions facing migrant workers at Top Glove, analysts said.
Reuters reported on Sunday that Top Glove had fired a Nepali employee in September after he and other workers tried to raise concerns over cramped dormitories and a lack of social distancing at the firm’s facilities.
Last week the manufacturer said during a financial results call that 94% of workers tested were now fit to return to work.
Smaller rival Hartalega Holdings said on Monday it had found 35 COVID-19 cases among more than 8,700 employees tested. The company said it had temporarily shut some production lines, but estimated losses at less than 0.5% of annual output.
Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Ed Osmond and Gareth Jones
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