A troop of monkeys snatched the blood samples of suspected coronavirus patients at a government hospital in the Meerut district of the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
The incident occurred at Meerut Medical College. A laboratory assistant carrying blood samples due for testing was attacked. Monkeys stole the sample box with four blood samples. The samples belonged to people who had tested positive for Covid-19. The monkeys climbed the trees with the samples and threw them after chewing the packets. The incident was allegedly captured in a viral video that was shared on social media on Friday. The hospital authorities have sanitized the area. Researchers have not found evidence that monkeys could contract the virus if they came into direct contact with the samples.
People living near the campus were concerned the virus could spread further if the monkeys entered residential areas and the blood samples were opened. Officials said they were able to recover the sample boxes. Superintendent Dheeraj Raj said the samples were still intact. India has over 173,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and about 5,000 deaths. "We are still learning about this virus, but we know it is primarily spreading from person-to-person and it appears that it can spread from people to animals in some situations," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on its website.