Published: Fri, July 13, 2018

British Man's Condition Upgraded After Nerve Agent Poisoning

British Man's Condition Upgraded After Nerve Agent Poisoning

Hospital officials say they've seen an improvement in a man poisoned in a nerve agent attack in southwestern England.

Lorna Wilkinson, director of nursing at Salisbury District Hospital said, "I'm delighted to be able to tell you that Charlie Rowley has made further progress overnight".

"This latest horrendous turn of events has only served to strengthen the resolve of our investigation team as we work to identify those responsible for this outrageous, reckless and barbaric act", counter-terrorism police chief Neil Basu said. "Charlie is still very unwell and will continue to require specialist, round-the-clock care here at Salisbury District Hospital".

Around 100 counter terrorism experts are now hunting for the source of the contamination, which is thought to be a container used in the original assassination attempt of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March.

Britain and its allies have blamed Russia for the attack on the Skripals, prompting the biggest Western expulsion of Russian diplomats since the Cold War.

Basu says he hopes her partner Charlie Rowley improves and can give police details about the location of the container.

But, he warned, it may never be possible to establish a definitive link.

Charlie Rowley, 45, began answering questions after days in a coma after being taken seriously ill, following exposure to the nerve agent.

Tests later confirmed that they had been exposed to the Novichok nerve agent.

"I simply cannot offer a guarantee" regarding public safety, said the head of anti-terrorism Neil Basu during a press briefing in London, before calling on the population not to pick up objects such as syringes or unusual containers ".

Officers have been piecing together movements of the pair in Salisbury and Amesbury before they were taken ill on Saturday 30 June. Sturgess died in hospital on July 8 while Rowly remains in critical condition.

The money is in addition to £2.5m hardship fund for Salisbury businesses, the council and local police after former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in March.

However, he said that it was "implausible" for there to be no connection between two incidents. She had two sons, aged 19 and 23, and an 11-year-old daughter.

Police now believe the two handled a contaminated item with a high dose of Novichok, although they have not been able to confirm if it was from the same batch as the one used in the attempted murder of the Skripals.

Wiltshire Police said members of the public should "not be alarmed" by the activity.

"If it was sealed in a container and it was in a landfill site it would effectively be safe because it would not be touched by anyone and it would last for probably - I've been told by scientists - 50 years", he said.

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