Monkeys in India attacked a medical official and snatched away blood samples of patients who had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, prompting fears they could have spread the virus in the local area.
The attack occurred on Friday when a laboratory technician was walking in the campus of a state-run medical college in Meerut, capital of Uttar Pradesh state.
“Monkeys grabbed and fled with the blood samples of four Covid-19 patients who are undergoing treatment … we had to take their blood samples again,” said Dr S. K. Garg, a top official at the college.
The footage of the incident went viral in social media:
— Sanjay Jha (@JhaSanjay07) May 29, 2020
The monkeys can be seen scampered up nearby trees and one then tried to chew its plunder.
Authorities said they were not clear if the monkeys had spilled the blood samples, but people living near the leafy campus feared further spread of the virus if the monkeys carried the samples into residential areas.
“No evidence has been found that monkeys can contract the infection,” Garg told media. It was not clear if the monkeys could contract the coronavirus if they came into contact with infected blood.
The virus is believed to have jumped from animals into people in a wildlife market in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.
India has had 165,799 cases of the coronavirus and 4,706 deaths.