According to Reuters, Britain's counter-terrorism head Neil Basu said on Wednesday that there was no intelligence to indicate that both of the British citizens, aged in their 40s, had been deliberately targeted. However, he emphasized that police did not yet know how the nerve agent was transmitted.
"Following the detailed analysis of these samples, we can confirm that the man and woman have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok, which has been identified as the same nerve agent that contaminated both Yulia and Sergei Skripal," Neil Basu said in a statement.
Meanwhile, England's Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies told Reuters on Wednesday that the risk to the public remained low after a man and a woman became exposed to the nerve agent in Southern England.
"These two patients are in critical condition following exposure to the nerve agent Novichok," Sally Davies was quoted as saying by Reuters. "As the country's chief medical officer, I want to reassure the public that the risk to the general public remains low."
On Wednesday morning, the police of the UK county of Wiltshire said there had been "a major incident" in Amesbury involving the possible exposure of two people to an unknown substance, after a man and woman were found unconscious on Saturday and taken to Salisbury District Hospital in critical condition.
Meanwhile, Neil Basu Basu said a 45-year-old man and a 44-year-old woman had been initially thought to have fallen ill after using drugs from a potentially contaminated batch. But on Monday samples from both patients were sent for analysis to Porton Down laboratory, which also investigated the toxin used in the Skripal case.
The British anti-terror police chief emphasized the priority for the investigation team was to establish how these two people had come into contact with the nerve agent. He added any baseless assumptions should be avoided.