Up to 500 people are being advised to wash their possessions after police found nerve agent traces in a pub in the UK

  • Police have found traces of the nerve agent used to poison ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in two locations in Salisbury: Italian restaurant Zizzi and The Mill pub.
  • It’s been a week since Skripal and his daughter were found slumped on a bench from poisoning in a shopping centre in Salisbury.
  • Up to 500 people who might have been there around and after the time of the poisoning are being advised to wash their possessions in case of contamination.
  • UK authorities have yet to pin the blame on anyone, but there is speculation that the Kremlin ordered the attack.

Up to 500 people who were out and about in Salisbury last Sunday are being advised to wash their clothes, phones, and other items, in case their possessions have been contaminated by the nerve agent which poisoned former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

We first saw the news via the BBC.

Police found traces of the substance in two places in Salisbury: Italian restaurant Zizzi’s, and the Mill pub. The two locations are only a few minutes’ walk apart, and are part of the wider Maltings shopping mall precinct where Skripal and Yulia were found slumped on a bench last Sunday.

Salisbury map

It isn’t clear why it has taken the authorities a week to issue a contamination warning to the public.

England’s chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, said the risk of harm was “low” but nonetheless said the following applied to anyone who visited either venue any time between 1.30pm last Sunday and their closure on Monday.

Here is the advice:

  • Wash clothes in a washing machine
  • Items which need dry-cleaning should be double-bagged in plastic until further notice
  • Phones, handbags, and electronics should be wiped down with baby wipes. Those wipes should be bagged in plastic and then binned.
  • Other items such as jewellery and glasses can be washed with detergent and warm water.

People shouldn’t panic, Dame Sally said, but some people are worried that “prolonged exposure over weeks and months” could cause health problems.

Skripal and Yulia are alive, but critically ill after the poisoning.

Counterterror investigators, who are treating the attack as attempted murder, have identified the type of nerve agent that the pair were exposed to, but they are not making it public yet.

Nerve agents are highly toxic chemicalsthat can kill people in minutes and are extremely hard to make.

Almost 200 troops from the British Army, the Royal Air Force, and the Royal Marines were deployed on Friday to remove contaminated items from The Maltings shopping centre, where the poisoned pair were found.