A lab technician carrying blood samples from COVID-19 patients was attacked by a group of monkeys, who snatched the samples and ran away in north Indian city of Meerut on Friday.

India has been under a lockdown since March due to the fear of COVID-19 spread. As the restrictions are easing in their fourth phase, India’s COVID-19 cases have reached 165,798.

The technician was returning with the samples of three people suspected of having COVID-19 at Meerut Medical College in Uttar Pradesh. While fresh samples of the patients were collected, the video shows monkeys on a tree chewing the sample collection kits.

The incident has created fear and panic among the city’s residents as they allege that COVID-19 could be spread by monkeys if they carry the test samples to nearby residential areas.

Monkeys are not immune from the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and some have speculated that there is a risk of transmission of the infection from humans to monkeys.

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