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World The world's hospitals are running out of vital rubber gloves

08:35  26 march  2020
08:35  26 march  2020 Source:   msn.com

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An impending glove shortage is hitting the world , compounded by measures to contain the deadly coronavirus in a country that dominates “Today’ s demand is abnormal. Hospitals are running out of gloves ,” said Denis Low, president of the glovemakers’ association in a phone interview Thursday.

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a boy wearing a blue hat: Employees attach latex gloves to an air compressor as other gloves are inflated in the air-leak test room at a Top Glove Corp. factory in Setia Alam, Selangor, Malaysia, on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. The world’s biggest glovemaker got a vote of confidence from investors in the credit market, as the coronavirus fuels demand for the Malaysian company’s rubber products. The World Health Organization is taking an unprecedented step of negotiating directly with suppliers to improve access to gloves, face masks and other forms of protective equipment. © Bloomberg Employees attach latex gloves to an air compressor as other gloves are inflated in the air-leak test room at a Top Glove Corp. factory in Setia Alam, Selangor, Malaysia, on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. The world’s biggest glovemaker got a vote of confidence from investors in the credit market, as the coronavirus fuels demand for the Malaysian company’s rubber products. The World Health Organization is taking an unprecedented step of negotiating directly with suppliers to improve access to gloves, face masks and other forms of protective equipment. An impending glove shortage is hitting the world, compounded by measures to contain the deadly coronavirus in a country that dominates production: Malaysia.

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They say they are being forced to buy their own disposable gloves and are only allowed to use up limited supplies if they come into contact with someone who has coronavirus. At a different pharmacy in the capital, staff only had facemasks that had gone out of date and were no longer effective.

Malaysia is by far the world ’ s largest medical glove supplier, producing as many as three out of four gloves on market. The industry has a history of mistreating migrant workers who toil over hand-sized molds as they're dipped in melted latex or rubber , hot and exhausting work.

The country’s glove-making association -- whose members make 3 out of every 5 gloves worldwide -- is warning of a global “chronic shortage” of the critical medical gear as the plants were forced to cut staffing due to Malaysia’s expansive lockdown. Top Glove Corp. Bhd, the world’s largest producer, said demand from the U.S., Europe and other nations outstrips its capacity while fulfilment of orders is running as late as four months behind.

Malaysia has restricted movement across the country and ordered many businesses to shut while requiring others to keep as many workers home as possible to curb the spread of the pathogen. Most glovemakers have received an exemption to staff their factories at just 50%, with some of the companies planning to meet with a top trade ministry official on Thursday to seek approval to operate with a full workforce, according to the Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association.

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A rubber glove is a glove made out of rubber . Rubber gloves can be unsupported ( rubber only) or supported ( rubber coating of textile glove ). Its primary purpose is protection of the hands while performing tasks involving chemicals.

Units have also run out of syringes, IV lines, medical swabs, saline bags, needles, wash cloths and alcohol rub and maternity pads The spokesperson said it was usual practice to stagger the opening of large facilities, and the capacity of the hospital is increasing each week as new staff commence.

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Governments across the world are desperately trying to acquire and stockpile critical medical supplies such as masks, ventilators and gowns as frontline doctors and nurses face shortages. That’s forcing many of the biggest makers to run factories around the clock to meet demand. Malaysia’s glovemakers, however, are having to curb output as the country fights a second wave of coronavirus infections.

“Today’s demand is abnormal. Hospitals are running out of gloves,” said Denis Low, president of the glovemakers’ association in a phone interview Thursday. “We are not able to supply the quantity that we want. It’s not our choice.”

Low said association members will meet with Azmin Ali, the senior minister for trade and industry, on Thursday to request the additional exemption. Malaysia’s industry supplies about 67% of the global demand for as much as 345 billion units annually, he said. It’s also being asked to meet local need for gloves first, before the rest of the world.

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Even at full capacity, Malaysia’s producers won’t be able to meet the current need. Top Glove said it’s seeing orders for as many as 2.6 billion gloves weekly -- double its full capacity. The company, which supplies a little more than a quarter of the world’s gloves, recently received an exemption to fully staff its production lines.

“We are running 24 hours, two shifts on the production floor,” said Lim Wee Chai, Top Glove’s executive chairman. “There’s a definite shortage already.”

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