Man and woman critical after being exposed to 'mystery substance' identified

Police in Wiltshire, where ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a nerve agent in March, took the rare step of declaring a major incident after a man and a woman were found unconscious on Saturday in Amesbury.

England's chief medical officer Professor Sally Davies said that the risk of contamination to the general public remains low but anyone who may have visited any area that is now cordoned off between now and Friday evening should take precautions to was their clothes and wipe down shoes and bags.

The couple, a 45-year-old man and a 44-year-old woman, were discovered unconscious at a house in a quiet, newly-built area in Amesbury, a village near the prehistoric Stonehenge monument.

The couple remain in a critical condition in Salisbury District Hospital, which also treated Skripal, his daughter Yulia and police officer Nick Bailey, who came to assist them.

It is understood that tests are being carried out on the substance at the Government chemical weapons research laboratory at Porton Down.

At this point in the investigation, Sturgess and Rowley appear to have been two regular British citizens with no apparent connection to Russian Federation, the report said.

British counter-terrorism officers have joined the investigation into how two critically ill people came to be exposed to an "unknown substance" in a town in southern England.

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

"This will be continually assessed as further information becomes known", the statement said.

"Where we have decontaminated sites from the previous exposure to this nerve agent - we are happy that those sites are safe and the public should know that they are safe", he said.

However, Home Secretary Savid Javid said that while they had concluded that "the exact same nerve agent" was used in this case, authorities "cannot attribute it to the same batch at this point".

"The eyes of the world are now on Russian Federation, not least because of the World Cup", British Home Secretary Sajid Javid said.

"The possibility that these two lines of investigations might be linked is clearly a line of enquiry for us".

Almost two weeks ago, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla visited the town of Salisbury, where the Skripals were poisoned, to show their support for the town's recovery.

Peskov said Russian Federation was anxious by the most recent attacks and was unaware of any requests to investigate the latest incident, Reuters reported.

The Skripals spent weeks in a critical condition in the same hospital before slowly recovering and being discharged. The Russian government has denied any involvement.

The incident has occurred less than eight miles away from where Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were apparently poisoned in Salisbury earlier this year.