UPDATE 1-Malaysian glovemaker Kossan shuts down plant temporarily after COVID-19 outbreak

(Recasts with attribution from Kossan)

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Malaysian glove maker Kossan Rubber Industries Bhd said on Wednesday it has temporarily closed one of its plants after 427 workers had tested positive for COVID-19.

Kossan is the latest manufacturer of medical gloves in the Southeast Asian country to be hit by the pandemic in recent weeks.

Top Glove, the world’s largest glove maker, became the site of Malaysia’s biggest virus cluster after more than 5,000 workers were infected. Smaller rival Hartalega has also reported cases.

The latest outbreak was at one of Kossan’s 12 premises after a screening exercise targeting more than 8,000 employees began on Dec. 4, the company said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

The affected plant has been temporarily closed for disinfection and sanitisation and its employees were undergoing quarantine, Kossan said.

Operations at the plant were expected to resume in stages starting Dec. 21.

In a separate bourse filing, Kossan said capacity loss was estimated to be less than 1% of its total annual output volume following the closure.

The manufacturer also planned to test 20 percent of its workers every two weeks as a precaution going forward, two research houses said, citing a briefing by Kossan’s management to analysts. (Reporting by Rozanna Latiff Editing by Ed Davies)