A band of marauding monkeys has attacked a laboratory technician and stolen three Covid-19 test samples, raising fears they will infect themselves and then spread the deadly disease to humans.

The worker was attacked outside a medical college in Meerut, northern India, while transporting samples from patients suspected of having coronavirus. The monkeys ran off into a residential area.

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.

Monkeys can contract Covid-19 and then infect humans, according to scientists.


Some Indians have been worried about catching the deadly virus from animals and it led to pet dogs being released onto the streets during the start of the pandemic, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Others saw the funny side of the monkey attack, as the incident came days after Indian authorities detained a pigeon in Jammu and Kashmir on suspicion of spying for Pakistan.

"The nation wants to know if Pakistan has sent those monkeys to steal coronavirus samples," joked one user on Twitter. "These are highly trained monkeys and very intelligent monkeys."

In India, groups of monkeys are attacking people with increasing regularity as they are displaced from their natural habitats by urban sprawl.

Their attacks can prove deadly - particularly for young children who are vulnerable to their powerful bites.

In 2018, a 12-day-old baby boy died after he was bitten by a monkey in the city of Agra, home of the Taj Mahal.

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