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Police officer receives 'specialist tests' in connection to UK poisonings

Jack Taylor/Getty Images(LONDON) -- A police officer in southern England is being tested for possible exposure to Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent that's believed to have sickened a couple in the area last weekend.

The officer went to Great Western Hospital in Swindon, a town in Wiltshire county, on Saturday night to seek "medical advice in connection with the ongoing incident in Amesbury," also in Wiltshire. The officer was then transported about 40 miles south to Salisbury District Hospital, "which has the ability to carry out the appropriate specialist tests," a hospital spokesperson said in a statement.

"Salisbury District Hospital has seen a number of members of the public who have come to the hospital with health concerns since this incident started and none have required any treatment," the spokesperson said. "We would like to reiterate the advice from Public Health England that the risk to the wider public remains low."

The spokesperson added that "there is nothing to suggest there is any wider risk to anyone at the hospital" the officer initially attended in Swindon.

Wiltshire Police confirmed via Twitter that the officer is a member of their force and going to the hospital is a "precautionary measure."

"A Wiltshire police officer is seeking medical advice at Salisbury District Hospital in connection with the ongoing incident in Amesbury. This is a precautionary measure. We would like to reiterate the advice from Public Health England that the risk to the wider public remains low," Wiltshire Police tweeted Saturday night.

Salisbury District Hospital is currently treating an Amesbury couple who British investigators believe has been infected by Novichok, a Soviet-developed compound from a group of nerve agents. The man and the woman, whose identities have not been released by authorities, were both in critical condition since being hospitalized on June 30.

The incident comes a few months after former Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned by the same nerve agent in Salisbury, just 5 miles east of Amesbury. They were also treated at Salisbury District Hospital.

So far, police do not believe that the Amesbury pair were deliberately targeted but are still investigating whether there is a link to the Salisbury poisoning.

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