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UK police say Wiltshire pair were poisoned after handling 'contaminated item'

Police officers guard the entrance to a housing estate on Muggleton Road, after it was confirmed that two people had been poisoned with the nerve-agent Novichok, in Amesbury, Britain, July 5, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - British police said on Thursday a man and a woman who are critically ill after being poisoned with the Novichok nerve agent in southern England had been exposed to the toxin after handling a contaminated item.

“Following further tests of samples from the patients, we now know that they were exposed to the nerve agent after handling a contaminated item,” London police said in a statement.

“Detectives are working as quickly and as diligently as possible to identify the source of the contamination.”

Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison