UK official reassures residents in poisoning case

Published 07-08-2018

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LONDON (AP) – Britain's home secretary visited Amesbury and Salisbury in southwestern England Sunday to reassure residents that the risk to the public remains very low despite the recent poisoning of two people exposed to a deadly nerve agent.

Sajid Javid said both towns remain open for business and urged people to visit what he called one of the most beautiful parts of the country.

Javid was the first senior official to visit the area since 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess and her partner, 45-year-old Charley Rowley, were hospitalized in critical condition last week. Officials said they had come into contact with the deadly nerve agent Novichok, which was manufactured in the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Officials believe the poisoning may have been caused by exposure to Novichok that was disposed of after the March attack on ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

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. Officials say the search and cleanup operation will take weeks or even months to complete.

Counterterrorism police are also studying roughly 1,300 hours of closed circuit television footage in hopes of finding clues about the couple's activities in the hours before they became violently ill.

Detectives want to know where the couple was to get new leads on where the contamination might have occurred.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the March attack on the Skripals had been ordered by the Russian government, a charge denied by representatives of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The case led to the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Britain, the United States, and other countries.

The new poisoning has frightened some residents who thought an extensive cleanup had removed the threat of any further Novichok exposure.

Hospital officials said late Saturday that a number of people including a police officer had sought medical advice in the last week but had been found not to need any treatment.

John Glen, the Conservative Party legislator for the region, said the new poisoning has threatened an economic rebound from the slowdown caused by the attack on the Skri

Detectives want to know where the couple was to get new leads on where the contamination might have occurred.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the March attack on the Skripals had been ordered by the Russian government, a charge denied by representatives of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The case led to the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Britain, the United States, and other countries.

The new poisoning has frightened some residents who thought an extensive cleanup had removed the threat of any further Novichok exposure.

Hospital officials said late Saturday that a number of people including a police officer had sought medical advice in the last week but had been found not to need any treatment.

John Glen, the Conservative Party legislator for the region, said the new poisoning has threatened an economic rebound from the slowdown caused by the attack on the Skripals.

"We need to establish quickly what they came into contact with and where," he said. "The sentiment in the city is frustration, we want to get back to normal."

The new poisoning has frightened some residents who thought an extensive cleanup had removed the threat of any further Novichok exposure.

Hospital officials said late Saturday that a number of people including a police officer had sought medical advice in the last week but had been found not to need any treatment.

John Glen, the Conservative Party legislator for the region, said the new poisoning has threatened an economic rebound from the slowdown caused by the attack on the Skripals.

"We need to establish quickly what they came into contact with and where," he said. "The sentiment in the city is frustration, we want to get back to normal."

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