(UPDATED) – The Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (MARGMA), which comprised of Malaysian rubber glove manufacturers and associated suppliers and supporting organisations, assures that the gloves industry is able to meet the requirements for gloves amid the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak.
The 2019-nCoV is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. According to the Centres for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US, this virus was claimed to have emerged from an animal source and may be transmitted human-to-human.
Wearing gloves as well as other protective
gears especially among health workers are imperative to limit transmission
and thus prevent secondary infections.
As of this press time, the total number of confirmed nCoV cases in China has crossed 14,411 and fatalities has gone up to 304. There have also been 146 confirmed cases and 1 death in different countries, as per the February 2 tally of the World Health Organisation. Malaysia now has 8 confirmed cases of nCoV, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control audit as of 2 February.
MARMA’s President, Denis Low anticipates a rise in demand for medical gloves in the wake of the 2019-nCoV cases increasing and spreading across different countries.
He said that during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, medical glove consumption grew by 17%. “Taking a lesson from the H1N1 virus and the notion that the coronavirus can be much worse, the rubber glove industry will certainly ramp up production to meet the demand,” Low stated.
Meanwhile, Malaysia, the world’s largest producer of medical gloves and exports 180 billion pieces worldwide, is donating 18 million pieces of medical gloves to Wuhan to assist in containing the epidemic.
Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok at a recent press conference lauds the Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council (MREPC) and the rubber gloves manufacturers in Malaysia for the move. “The medical gloves, both natural rubber and nitrile, will be sent to China in batches with the first shipment already on its way to Wuhan,” she said.
She said that glove producers, Top Glove and Supermax have already donated 2.3 million pieces of gloves through their local offices and distributors to Wuhan, adding that other glove makers are also following suit: Smart Glove, Hartalega, Kossan, YTY, Brightway and Koon Seng,
The country has also sent over 20 million medical rubber gloves to Ebola-affected countries, including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria and Congo in 2014.