Monkeys robbed a caregiver near New Delhi and grabbed samples of serological tests for Covid-19, raising fears that primates, who frequently plunder, may help spread the new coronavirus.
The monkeys grabbed three samples this week in Meerut, near New Delhi, before running away and climbing on nearby trees. One of them chewed his booty.
But the samples, discovered later, were not damaged, said on Friday to our AFP colleagues the director of the faculty of medicine of Meerut Dheeraj Raj, after images of the flight became viral on the social networks .
“They were still intact and we do not believe there is a risk of contamination or spread,” said Dheera Raj.
Farmers’ crops looted by these animals
The three people whose blood samples were stolen by the monkeys were retested. The new coronavirus has been detected in animals, although the risk of transmission from animals to humans has not been confirmed.
Indian authorities are constantly faced with the problem of robber monkeys, who steal food or even cell phones. In many rural areas, farmers, whose crops are looted by gangs of monkeys, have asked for the intervention of local authorities to control their population.
New Delhi municipal authorities have used long-tailed langur monkeys to confront and repel other, smaller monkeys from around Indian parliaments.
In India 175 new deaths due to Codiv-19 were recorded in 24 hours, bringing Friday the death toll to a total of 4,706, according to official figures. India, a country very vulnerable to the spread of the new coronavirus with its overcrowded mega-cities and its failing health system, has recorded record numbers of new cases in the past few days.