Police looking for item that poisoned British couple, urge caution

Parts of Salisbury had only been reopened two months ago after the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal

Parts of Salisbury had only been reopened two months ago after the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal Credit AP

The Salisbury hospital is a short distance from Amesbury where Charlie Rowley, 45, and his partner Dawn Sturgess, 44, fell ill after coming into contact with the potentially fatal substance last Saturday.

Health officials have urged local people who recently visited any of five sites cordoned off by police in Salisbury and Amesbury since on Tuesday to take precautions, including washing clothing and cleaning other items that could be contaminated.

Britain demanded answers from Russia on Thursday after a couple was exposed to the same nerve agent used on a former Russian spy and his daughter in an attempted murder blamed on Moscow.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said a crime lab found the eerie link.

Britain blamed Russian Federation for the March attack, but Moscow officials denied any involvement.

Police initially assumed the couple had taken contaminated drugs, a claim immediately rejected by Hobson, saying that Sturgess "doesn't take drugs".

The police officer first attended Great Western Hospital in Swindon before he was transferred to Salisbury, it is believed.

A police officer tested for possible exposure to a nerve agent in Salisbury has been given the medical all-clear.

The Met says around 100 counter-terror officers are working "round the clock" alongside Wiltshire Police to identify the source of contamination.

Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned in southwest England not far from where Sturgess and Rowley live. They are being cared for at Salisbury District Hospital. Skripal was discharged from the hospital in May and his daughter was released in April.

"Based upon the number of casualties affected, it is not believed that there is a significant health risk to the wider public", said the Wiltshire Police, adding that it was not yet known whether the two were the victims of a crime.

Police say their operation following the poisoning of two more people with a nerve agent will take weeks and months to complete.

The comments ramping up pressure on Moscow came as a man and a woman were hospitalized in critical condition after falling ill at a house in the English town of Amesbury on June 30.

"We are anxious by the repeated use of such substances in Europe", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the BBC desk in Russian Federation, categorically denying Russia's involvement.

Later that night, Scotland Yard confirms that tests show the couple - who have still not been formally named, but are confirmed to be British - had indeed been exposed to the nerve agent.

"What they'll be doing is looking into their background to see if there is any reason that they would be linked to the Skripals at all", he explained.

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