Russian spy attack: Hundreds of people warned to wash belongings for fear of contamination

Health officials issued the alert after traces of nerve agent were discovered at a pub and restaurant visited by Sergei and Yulia Skripal.It is feared around 500 people could have come in contact with the deadly substance.Uniforms worn by staff at the Zizzi restaurant have been burned and the table where Mr Skripal and his daughter ate lunch was destroyed.Furious locals raised questions over why it has taken the authorities seven days to issue the unprecedented alert to members of the public.Officials said the advice was “precautionary” and insisted the risk levels to the public “remain low”.Traces of the unidentified chemical were found at Zizzi’s restaurant in Salisbury city centre where the 66-year-old double agent, and his 33-year-old daughter had lunch last Sunday afternoon.They then headed to the nearby Mill pub where forensics teams discovered more evidence of the chemical.The pair were later found in a “catatonic” state on a bench outside the Maltings shopping centre just yards away at around 4.15pm.They remain in a critical condition in the intensive care unit at Salisbury District Hospital.Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey – who was contaminated by the substance as he rushed to the aid of the pair – remains in a serious condition.A major incident was declared after the attack but customers were free to come and go at both establishments until closing time the following night.Public Health England warned it was possible the substance may have come into contact with clothing or belongings and “could still be present in minute amounts and therefore contaminate the skin”.

People were told to machine wash all clothing worn on the day they visited the venues.Items of clothing which would normally be dry cleaned should be placed in two plastic bags tied at the top and stored safely at home.Officials said they are “currently reviewing” the best way of dealing with these items in the long term and more information will be provided when it is available.Those wishing to destroy items were urged to clean and double bag them before disposing of them in a household bin.Visitors to the locations were advised to wipe belongings such as mobile phones, handbags and other electronic items with cleansing or baby wipes and dispose of the wipes in the bin.Jeweller, spectacles and other “hard” items which cannot go in the washing machine should be washed with warm water and detergent and rinsed with clean, cold water.Shoes should be wiped clean with a damp cloth and dried or polished as normal.Once the items have been dealt with, people are being urged to “wash their hands thoroughly”.Original Source

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