Group of monkeys 'attack lab assistant and steal coronavirus samples'

29 May 2020, 15:17

A macaque monkey in New Delhi
A macaque monkey in New Delhi. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

A group of monkeys attacked a laboratory assistant and stole coronavirus test samples in Delhi, India.

The gang of primates surrounded the scientist before snatching a set of coronavirus samples from three patients.

The employee is said to have been unharmed, but has angered officials after filming the aftermath of the attack, rather than attempting to retrieve the samples from the fleeing monkeys.

Local media said the incident took place near Meerut Medical College in Delhi, and all the samples have now been redone.

The monkeys ran off into a residential area. One was later seen in a tree chewing on one of the stolen samples.

It follows a series of reports in India that lockdown has made the primates bolder and images have shown them congregating in empty town centres and shopping streets.

The monkeys are said to cause chaos in Delhi
The monkeys are said to cause chaos in Delhi. Picture: PA

People have been advised not to feed the moneys during the pandemic, as experts think this could lead to the virus mutating and infecting primates.

However, they are struggling without the human food they usually rely on.

Reports have already emerged saying that the primates cause chaos in Delhi, snatching food and mobile telephones, breaking into homes and terrorising people in and around the Indian capital.

They have colonised areas around the city's parliament and the sites of key ministries, from the prime minister's office to the finance and defence ministries, scaring both civil servants and the public.

"Very often they snatch food from people as they are walking, and sometimes they even tear files and documents by climbing in through the windows," said Ragini Sharma, a home ministry employee, in 2018.