Amesbury Novichok poisoning: Risk to public 'low' says Sajid Javid

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 man and woman are now critically ill in England's Salisbury District Hospital, where the Skripals were previously treated.

An global situation has just become more complicated with the news that a couple is now being treated for Novichok poisoning, the same potent nerve agent used on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England, in March.

The two new victims - Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley- are in critical condition in a hospital.

Authorities are working on the strong assumption that they came into contact with the nerve agent in a different location from the sites which were part of the clean-up after the Skripal incident in Salisbury. British Prime Minister Theresa May has blamed Russian Federation for the first poisoning attack - an assertion the Kremlin denies. The Kremlin has denied any involvement.

They initially suspected that the couple had consumed a contaminated batch of illegal drugs, saying they had found "paraphernalia" in the house, but tests at nearby defence laboratory Porton Down revealed they had been exposed to Novichok.

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The British authorities say there was nothing in the background of the latest pair to suggest a link to espionage or to Russian Federation. United Kingdom authorities quickly attributed their condition to exposure to "Novichok" - the substance the United Kingdom claims was used to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter in March this year.

It is not believed that the couple in the latest poisoning incident had visited the sites connected to the Skripals in Salisbury, he said. The UK rushed to accuse Russian Federation of being involved, while failing to furnish any evidence.

Forensic investigators are continuing to comb for clues in Wiltshire after the latest Novichok poisonings.

More than 100 police officers were deployed to try to locate a small vial believed to have contained the nerve agent that sickened the two.

Ben Jordan, a friend, described Mr. Rowley as a scavenger who would pick up cigarette butts from the ground and often go through the trash cans outside charity shops in search of something he could use or sell.

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Police have said there is nothing in the couple's background to suggest they had been deliberately targeted.

Wiltshire Police confirmed via Twitter that the officer is a member of their force and going to the hospital is a "precautionary measure".

What hasn't been determined yet is how and why these two people were poisoned.

The March attack prompted the biggest Western expulsion of Russian diplomats since the Cold War as allies sided with Britain's view that Moscow was either responsible or had lost control of the nerve agent.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid is chairing a meeting of the British government's COBRA emergency committee on Thursday morning.

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