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British Police Officer Not Exposed To Novichok, Authorities Say


British personnel in Amesbury prepare tests at a site where two people were believed exposed to a nerve agent.

A hospital in the British town of Salisbury says a police officer who sought medical advice over concerns that he had been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok appears to be free of the substance.

"We are pleased to confirm that the police officer who sought precautionary medical advice at Salisbury District Hospital in connection with the ongoing incident in Amesbury has been assessed and given the all clear," Wiltshire Police quoted a hospital spokesman as saying early on July 8.

He quoted the hospital as saying several other members of the public had come to the facility over concerns but that none had required treatment.

A spokesperson for the Salisbury District Hospital said on July 7 that the officer was being taken to that facility for tests in connection to what officials say was the exposure of a British couple a week earlier to the nerve agent Novichok.

Authorities said the couple was exposed to the same nerve agent used in the poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were found collapsed in Salisbury -- some 10 kilometers from Amesbury -- in March after what authorities say was a poisoning by Novichok.

The Skripals ultimately survived the poisoning and were later discharged from the hospital after what medics and officials say was an intensive battle to save their lives.

British officials have blamed Russia for the poisoning, a charge the Kremlin denies.

On July 4, Britain's counterterrorism chief said that a man and woman -- both British and in their 40s – were found to have been exposed to Novichok.

The couple -- Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley -- were found unconscious and in critical condition at a house in Amesbury on June 30, less than 20 kilometers from Salisbury.

Police say they were exposed to the toxin after coming into contact with a contaminated item.

Both victims remain in critical condition, and police have cordoned off several sites in Amesbury as they investigate how they may have been exposed to the nerve agent.

The authorities have said that the risk to the general public "remains low."

With reporting by Reuters, AP, dpa, AFP, and the BBC
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