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Monkeys attack doctor in India, stealing coronavirus test samples, reports say

The fate of the stolen samples is unknown

MOSCOW, May 29. /TASS/. A bunch of monkeys have attacked a medical lab worker in India, stealing blood samples of patients diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, Reuters news agency informed on Friday.

"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," one of the employees of the state-run medical college in Meerut (Uttar Pradesh state), said, quoted by the agency.

He added that the fate of the stolen samples is unknown.

Local officials fear that the monkeys could have broken the test samples, becoming infected with the disease. The employee of the lab noted, however, that there are no confirmed cases of monkeys transmitting the dangerous virus.

For several decades, bunches of wild monkeys have been a nuisance for residents of Indian cities. In the conditions of self-isolation, they have become more aggressive.

As of now, there are over 165,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in India. Over 4,700 people have died from the virus in the country.

In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.

On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 5,800,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 350,000 deaths have been reported.