A 19-year-old girl has allegedly been raped by an ambulance driver conveying her to the hospital, after she tested positive for COVID-19 in India.

The teenager was attacked by the driver identified as V Noufal, 29, while on their way to the Firstline Covid Treatment Centre in Pathanamthitta district, Kerala, on September 5, 2020.

Noufal was arrested on September 6, after the victim told a staff of the hospital about the alleged incident, when she arrived at the facility.

After the driver was arrested, police said he had not obtained the mandatory clearance certificate as a driver.

KK Shailaja, the country’s health minister, described the incident as “shocking” and “inhuman.”

The Indian Express quotes a health department official as saying that the driver is usually sent alone to a particular locality to pick up patients, so as to limit the exposure of health workers. 

“The driver’s chamber is partitioned and no other staff or nurse accompanies the driver while ferrying patients to hospital. 

“This is to limit the exposure of health workers to infected persons. In rare cases, if the patient is serious, we send a nurse. In this case, both patients were stable.”

 The sexual attack is the latest in a series of high profile sexual offenses in India.

Last week, a three-year-old girl was raped and strangled in the Lakhimpur Kher district of Uttar Pradesh.