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UK Counter-Terrorism Chief: 2 People in Amesbury Exposed to Novichok

© REUTERS / Henry NichollsPolice officers guard outside a branch of Boots pharmacy, which has been cordoned off after two people were hospitalised and police declared a 'major incident', in Amesbury, Wiltshire, Britain, July 4, 2018
Police officers guard outside a branch of Boots pharmacy, which has been cordoned off after two people were hospitalised and police declared a 'major incident', in Amesbury, Wiltshire, Britain, July 4, 2018 - Sputnik International
According to the statement of UK counter-terrorism chief Neil Basu, two people found unwell at a house in Amesbury on Saturday were contaminated by the Novichok nerve agent, the same toxin that was allegedly used against ex-Russian Intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

According to Reuters, Britain's counter-terrorism head Neil Basu said on Wednesday that there was no intelligence to indicate that both of the British citizens, aged in their 40s, had been deliberately targeted. However, he emphasized that police did not yet know how the nerve agent was transmitted.

"Following the detailed analysis of these samples, we can confirm that the man and woman have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok, which has been identified as the same nerve agent that contaminated both Yulia and Sergei Skripal," Neil Basu said in a statement.

The entrance to Germany's intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst BND in Pullach, southern Germany. - Sputnik International
German Intelligence Knew 'Novichok' Nerve Agent Composition in 1990s – Reports
"We are not in a position to say whether the nerve agent was from the same batch that the Skripals were exposed to. The possibility that these two investigations might be linked is clearly a line of enquiry for us," he added.

Meanwhile, England's Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies told Reuters on Wednesday that the risk to the public remained low after a man and a woman became exposed to the nerve agent in Southern England.

"These two patients are in critical condition following exposure to the nerve agent Novichok," Sally Davies was quoted as saying by Reuters. "As the country's chief medical officer, I want to reassure the public that the risk to the general public remains low."

On Wednesday morning, the police of the UK county of Wiltshire said there had been "a major incident" in Amesbury involving the possible exposure of two people to an unknown substance, after a man and woman were found unconscious on Saturday and taken to Salisbury District Hospital in critical condition.

Investigators in protective suits work at the scene in the Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury, England, Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - Sputnik International
'Creator' of Novichok Says 'Only an Idiot' Would've Used It in Salisbury
The Defense Science and Technology Laboratory in Porton Down told Sputnik on Wednesday that it was "supporting" the investigation into an incident involving two people found unconscious in the town of Amesbury, located close to the city of Salisbury, where former Russian Military Intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter were contaminated in March.

Meanwhile, Neil Basu Basu said a 45-year-old man and a 44-year-old woman had been initially thought to have fallen ill after using drugs from a potentially contaminated batch. But on Monday samples from both patients were sent for analysis to Porton Down laboratory, which also investigated the toxin used in the Skripal case.

The British anti-terror police chief emphasized the priority for the investigation team was to establish how these two people had come into contact with the nerve agent. He added any baseless assumptions should be avoided.

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