Police have said there is nothing to suggest that novichok is to blame for two people falling ill at a branch of Prezzo that was cordoned off in Salisbury yesterday evening.
Wiltshire Police declared a “major incident” at 6.45pm last night following a report that a man in his 40s and a woman aged in her 30s had become unwell.
Due to recent events in the city and concerns that the pair had been exposed to an unknown substance, a “highly precautionary” approach was taken by all emergency services, the police said.
Both were taken to Salisbury District Hospital and were clinically assessed. Police said there is nothing to suggest that Novichok is the substance. Both people remain in hospital under observation.
“At this stage it is not yet clear if a crime has been committed and enquiries remain ongoing. A cordon will remain in place around Prezzo at this time as part of ongoing routine enquiries. All other areas that were cordoned off will now be reopened,” Wiltshire police stated.
Public Health England was informed of the incident and firefighters were also sent to the scene.
The Independent reported that a source briefed by the emergency services said medics alerted the police because the symptoms “seemed consistent with novichok poisoning”.
However, the source stressed those symptoms could be caused by other reasons. “The symptoms of novichok poisoning and particular types of narcotic abuse are very similar,” they added.
The Prezzo restaurant is close to where Sergei and Yulia Skripal collapsed after being poisoned with the nerve agent in March.
At the time Zizzi’s Salisbury restaurant was closed after it emerged the Skripals had dined there before they were found poisoned.