Top Glove shares drop as worker hostels put under strict lockdown

Top Glove shares drop as worker hostels put under strict lockdown

The share price of Top Glove, the world’s biggest producer of medical gloves, slumped on Tuesday, after the Malaysian government imposed a strict lockdown on more than 13,000 workers living in company-run dormitories to the west of Kuala Lumpur.

The authorities imposed the two-week lockdown after 215 coronavirus cases emerged in one of the hostels in Meru, about 40km west of the capital and close to Top Glove’s factories.

The curbs, during which the health ministry will undertake targeted screening, came into effect on Tuesday and involve 13,190 workers, as well as nearly 1,200 people living nearby. The company’s stock dropped nearly 10 percent in early trading on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange.

“[The lockdown] will allow the Health Ministry to continue targeted screenings on workers and residents in the area,” Senior Minister of Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob said at a media briefing on Monday.

He also urged the company to screen all its factory workers and its other dormitories.

Staff temperatures are checked on their arrival at a Top Glove hostel for female workers [Ahmad Yusni/EPA]Top Glove, which has about 21,000 staff and operates 41 factories in Malaysia, said in a statement that it had cooperated closely with the district health office and local police during a visit on Sunday.

It said it was seeking clarification about the implementation of the curbs and would continue to observe procedures put in place to hinder the spread of the virus.

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

Last week, Top Glove introduced more rigorous disease control and prevention measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 and said it was restricting its employees to only the most essential movements. It has also established “isolation houses” for those under quarantine, it said.

Top Glove first confirmed 17 employees tested positive for the virus almost two weeks ago. Malaysia has been battling a resurgence of coronavirus cases that began in September in the Borneo state of Sabah. Much of the country is now in a state of partial lockdown.