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Officials are working to determine whether they were exposed to a new batch of Novichok or whether they stumbled onto the same materials used to poison the Skripals.

At 4.20pm the pair return to John Baker House before catching a bus to Amesbury at approximately 10.30 pm.

"It is unbelievable that I am here to talk about another Novichok nerve agent incident in our county", local police chief Keir Pritchard told reporters.

One theory understood to be under investigation is whether the pair inadvertently found the container used to transport the nerve agent in the Skripal attack before being recklessly discarded.

- Six sites visited by Mr Rowley and Ms Sturgess before they fell ill were cordoned off.

"There is no evidence that either the man or woman recently visited any of the sites that were decontaminated following the attempted murders of Sergei and Yulia Skripal", Basu said in the statement.

Russia's embassy to London has commented on the article in The Times, which claims that "Britain's spy agencies are braced for Russian Federation to launch a new attack on the UK" as soon as it finishes hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

"Following the detailed analysis of these samples, we can confirm that the man and woman have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok, which has been identified as the same nerve agent that contaminated both Yulia and Sergei Skripal", Basu said.

Police cordoned off and increased their presence in the areas in and around Amesbury and Salisbury, and the places the two frequently visited before they fell ill, as a precautionary measure. They returned later that day when Mr Rowley also became ill. Instead, there will have to be a laborious physical search of suspected sites.

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Authorities believe that Sergei and Yulia Skripal first came into contact with Novichok at Sergei's home.

"Based on this our initial hypothesis was that the situation was connected to a contaminated batch of illegal drugs".

"He was rocking against the wall and his eyes were red, pinpricked, and he started sweating loads and dribbling, so I had to phone an ambulance for him", said Mr Hobson.

"It is now time that the Russian state comes forward and explains exactly what has gone on", Javid told parliament.

After a lengthy treatment, the Skripals were released from the hospital and continue to recover in an undisclosed location, protected by British authorities.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on July 5 said the British government should end "dirty political games" and "intrigues" over the two poisoning incidents and agree to work with Moscow on the probe.

Health officials have said the risk to the public is low but have urged people in Salisbury to avoid picking up objects if they "don't know what they are".

Downing Street confirmed that home secretary Sajid Javid will chair a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee today.

The episode in Salisbury - the first use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War - sparked global outrage.


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