Monkeys have a reputation of being sneaky, mischievous pick-pockets who will steal a wallet or a cellphone to trade for a bite to eat.
But earlier this week some monkeys near Delhi, India, took their trickery a little farther when they stole blood samples from a health care worker. The samples were later recovered.
A barrel of monkeys bombarded one of Meerut medical college’s medical professionals on Friday and took off into the trees with several samples of blood infected with COVID-19.
“Monkeys grabbed and fled with the blood samples of four COVID-19 patients who are undergoing treatment,” Dr. S. K. Garg, a top official at the college, told Reuters.
A video of the alleged attack was posted on Twitter by user Sanjay Jha and quickly went viral.
— Sanjay Jha (@JhaSanjay07) May 29, 2020
According to The Guardian, the infected blood samples were found and disposed of on the same day as the incident.
“They were still intact and we don’t think there is any risk of contamination or spread,” the school’s superintendent, Dheeraj Raj said.
Even though the samples have been disposed of and the area was sanitized, locals remained afraid that this incident will cause further spread of the disease.
According to Johns Hopkins University, India was hit hard with the coronavirus. The country has had more than 180,000 cases and over 5,000 deaths since the outbreak began.
This potentially dangerous situation shouldn’t be a huge surprise to the locals, however.
Monkeys in various regions, particularly India, have been known to steal people’s belongings and barter them for food.
According to New Scientist, a study was done at an Indonesia temple to see if the monkeys in the area who spend a large amount of time around humans were prone to stealing things like glasses, cameras and hats, among other things that area easy to snatch.
Since monkeys in heavily populated areas figured out a way to trade their stolen goods for food, they tend to stay close by for easy access to snacks.
But things changed for them once the coronavirus hit.
Monkeys flooded the streets in Thailand in search of food near a temple where they can usually trade their stolen goods with people.
With everyone quarantined because of stay-at-home orders, the primates’ usual bartering partners were nowhere to be found. This led to a brawl between two troops of hungry monkeys.
Soon after, the people of Thailand began leaving food out for the monkeys to put a stop to the fighting.
It seems that whether its a pair of glasses or blood samples infected with a deadly disease, monkeys will take whatever’s available, if they think there’s a way to exchange it for food.
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