London, July 5 :The British Government has called an emergency Cobra meeting on Thursday to probe the second incident of Amesbury Novichok poisoning as a couple fight for their lives after being poisoned by the same nerve agent that poisoned ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal.
A man and woman found unconscious in Wiltshire, England, were poisoned by Novichok, London Metropolitan Police said.
The couple believed to be Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess remain in critical condition in Salisbury District Hospital, the same hospital where former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were treated after they were exposed to Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent. The UK government suspects the Skripals were victims of a Russian attack.
Police said no one else has presented with the same symptoms. There was “nothing in their background” to suggest the pair were targeted, the Metropolitan Police said.
The Counter Terrorism Policing Network is now leading the investigation, working with Wiltshire Police.
Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said it could not be confirmed whether the nerve agent came from the same batch that Skripal, and his daughter Yulia, were exposed to.
But he said the possibility was “clearly a line of enquiry”.
Basu said officers were putting together a “very detailed examination of (the couple’s) movements” in order to determine where they were poisoned.
He added that members of the public should not pick anything up if they do not know what it is. “We have no idea what may have contained the nerve agent at this time,” he said.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the events follow “the reckless and barbaric attack which took place in March”. But added that Public Health England has made clear, the risk to the general public is low.
On Saturday, paramedics were called twice to the property in Amesbury – in the morning, after Sturgess had collapsed, then later the same day, after Rowley had also fallen unwell.
The news that Novichok was to blame was confirmed following analysis at the defence research facility at Porton Down, Wiltshire.