Malaysia's top palm producing state to reopen estate, mills without coronavirus cases

by Reuters
Friday, 10 April 2020 07:37 GMT

A Sime Darby Plantation worker collects palm oil fruits at a plantation in Pulau Carey, Malaysia, January 31, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

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Sabah, which accounts for about a quarter of Malaysia's palm oil output, had earlier ordered palm operations in six districts to shut until mid-April

KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 (Reuters) - Malaysia's biggest palm oil producing state, Sabah, has agreed to reopen plantations and mills that do not have any coronavirus infections, its chief minister said on Friday.

Plantations and mills in six districts - Tawau, Lahad Datu, Kinabatangan, Semporna, Kunak and Kalabakan - will be allowed to resume operations at half-capacity in accordance with guidelines to avoid an outbreak of the disease.

"However, the exemption will be withdrawn if plantations and mills are found to have a positive COVID-19 case, a person under investigation for COVID-19, or if workers are found to have close contact with a COVID-19 patient or person under investigation," Shafie Apdal said in a statement.

Sabah, which accounts for about a quarter of the palm oil output from the world's No.2 producer, had earlier ordered palm operations in the six districts to shut until mid-April after several estate workers tested positive for the new coronavirus.

(Reporting by Mei Mei Chu; Editing by Himani Sarkar)