March 25, 2020 -- Malaysia is the world's leading medical glove maker, but its glove factories are operating with half their normal workforce at a time when there's a critical need for medical gloves due to the coronavirus pandemic.
All factories in Malaysia were ordered to close as of March 18. Those deemed essential must seek exemptions to reopen, but to operate with only half their normal number of workers to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission, the Associated Press reported.
The government also requires manufacturers to fulfill domestic demand before exporting products.
The Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association has asked for an exception, the AP reported.
"Any halt to the production and administrative segments of our industry would mean an absolute stoppage to glove manufacturing and it will be disastrous to the world," association president Denis Low said in a statement.
He said association members have received requests for millions of gloves from about 190 countries, the AP reported.