Two people have been hospitalised in critical condition at Salisbury Hospital after being exposed to an « unknown substance » in Amesbury, southern England.
The two patients « are receiving treatment for an alleged exposure to an unknown substance at Salisbury Hospital, » Wiltshire County police said on Wednesday, adding that the event was considered a « major incident. »
The two people, a man and a woman, both in their forties, were found unconscious on Saturday in a house in the city of Amesbury, located about ten kilometers from Salisbury, where Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia had been victims an attempted poisoning with an innervating agent on March 4th.
Both patients are reportedly in critical condition.
Police initially hypothesized contamination from heroin or crack cocaine, but said that additional tests are now taking place « to establish the nature of the substance that led these patients to become ill. « We are keeping an open mind about the circumstances of the incident, » she added.
Several security cordons were set up in places visited by the two forty-year-olds. Police deployment has also been strengthened in the cities of Amesbury and Salisbury.
The public health agency Public Health England (PHE) said that this event posed « no significant health risk to the general public ». This will be « continually reassessed, based on known information, » said a spokesman for PHE.
On March 4, Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found unconscious and hospitalised in critical condition in Salisbury. Both had been victims of poisoning with an innervating agent. They had been treated for several weeks before being able to leave the hospital. London has accused Moscow of responsibility for the poisoning attempt, an accusation that has been vehemently denied by the Kremlin.