World

Take nerve agent precautions, 500 people in England told

LONDON Traces of a nerve agent used in the suspected attempted murder of a Russian former spy have been found in a pub and a restaurant he visited, England Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies said yesterday.

She said up to 500 people who had visited The Mill pub and the Zizzi restaurant in Salisbury, south-west England, had to wash their clothes and belongings as a precaution.

The March 4 attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia is being treated by detectives as attempted murder.

They were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury. They remain in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

"There has been some trace contamination by the nerve agent in both The Mill pub and Zizzi restaurant in Salisbury," Professor Davies said. "I am confident this has not harmed the health of anyone who was in The Mill pub or Zizzi.

"However, some people are concerned long-term exposure to these substances may, over weeks and particularly months, give rise to health problems.

"I am therefore advising... the people who were in either the restaurant or the pub at 1.30pm last Sunday until evening closing on Monday should clean the clothes they wore and the possessions they handled while there."

They were told to wash their clothing in the washing machine, while dry clean-only clothes should be put inside two tied plastic bags and safely stored while awaiting further advice.

WIPED

Mobile phones, handbags and electronic items should be wiped with sanitary wipes, which should then be disposed of in domestic waste.

Items such as jewellery and spectacles should be hand-washed in warm water and detergent, before being rinsed in cold water.

The risk to public health remained low and the advice was precautionary, Public Health England said. - AFP

WORLD