March 12 (UPI) — Customers at a restaurant and pub in England were urged to wash their clothes and other belongings Sunday after traces of a nerve agent that hospitalized a former Russian spy and his daughter were detected.
England’s chief medical officer, Sally Davies, advised customers who visited talian restaurant Zizzi or The Mill pub from 1:30 p.m. March 4 to the evening of March 5 to clean their clothes and any possessions they had with them at the time.
“We have now learned that there has been some trace contamination by the nerve agent in both The Mill pub and Zizzi restaurant in Salisbury,” Davies said.
Sergei Skripal, a 66-year-old former Russian double agent, and his daughter, Yulia Skripal, 33, were found slumped on a bench last Sunday in Salisbury, England, after being exposed to an unknown substance.
Both remain in a hospital in critical condition. Detective Sgt. Nick Bailey, who responded to the scene, was also hospitalized in serious condition.
The table where the pair ate at Zizzi was removed and destroyed along with other items, and scientists advised it could take weeks for the restaurant to reopen.
Davies recommended that clothes should be washed in a washing machine or double bagged in plastic until further notice; also cellphones, handbags and other electronic items should be wiped with baby wipes, which should be bagged in plastic and thrown out and other items such as jewelry should be washed with warm water and detergent. Hands should also be washed after handling any potentially contaminated items.
She said the advice was a “belt and braces” measure, and after “rigorous scientific analysis” there was concern prolonged exposure over weeks and months could cause health problems, but the risk of harm to fellow diners was “low.”
“I am confident none of these customers or staff will have suffered harm,” Davies said.