- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 4, 2018

AMESBURY, England (AP) - The Latest on the major incident near Salisbury, England, in which two people have been left in a critical condition (all times local):

10:00 p.m.

British police say two Britons who fell critically ill in the town of Amesbury were exposed to nerve agent Novichok, the same material used to poison a former Russian spy in a nearby area last spring.

Medical officials said Wednesday people who had been in the area where the couple had been should take precautions and wash their clothes.

Police said it is unclear if this incident is linked to the earlier poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, or if the batch was the same as the one that poisoned them on March 4.

Counter-terrorism police detective Neil Basu said it is unclear if the couple were targeted or if the poisoning was accidental.

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4:45 p.m.

British police say the two people in critical condition after being exposed to an unknown substance near where a former Russian spy was poisoned are British nationals.

Police said the couple was local to Amesbury, eight miles (13 kilometers) from Salisbury, where Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned with a nerve agent on March 4. Police did not name the couple, but friends have named them as Charlie Rowley 45, and Dawn Sturgess, 44.

Authorities declared a “major incident” Wednesday after a man and a woman were found unconscious Saturday at a residential building in Amesbury.

Police stressed during a news conference that public health officials do not believe there is a significant health risk to the wider public.

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12:20 p.m.

British police say counterterrorism officers are working with local detectives after two people were sickened by an unknown substance in southwest England.

The Metropolitan Police says “officers from the counter terrorism network are working jointly with colleagues from Wiltshire Police” on the incident in Amesbury.

Police say a man and a woman in their 40s were hospitalized after being found unconscious at a residential building in Amesbury. The town is eight miles (13 kilometers) from Salisbury, where ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a nerve agent on March 4.

Police say they are keeping an open mind and do not yet know whether a crime has been committed.

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6 a.m.

British police declared a “major incident” Wednesday after two people were left in critical condition from exposure to an unknown substance a few miles from where a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned with a nerve agent.

The Wiltshire Police force said a man and a woman in their 40s were hospitalized after being found unconscious at a residential building in Amesbury, eight miles (13 kilometers) from Salisbury, where Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned on March 4.

Police cordoned off the building and other places the two people visited before falling ill, but health officials said there was not believed to be a wider risk.

The man and woman were hospitalized Saturday at Salisbury District Hospital, where authorities initially believed they might have taken a contaminated batch of heroin or crack cocaine.

“However, further testing is now ongoing to establish the substance which led to these patients becoming ill and we are keeping an open mind as to the circumstances surrounding this incident,” police said. “At this stage, it is not yet clear if a crime has been committed.”


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