British police are scouring sections of Salisbury and Amesbury in England, searching for a container feared to be contaminated with traces of the nerve agent. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
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A woman who died after being poisoned with a nerve agent that also struck a former Russian spy in March must have handled a contaminated item, and tracking it down is key to police investigations, Britain's top counterterrorism officer said.Basu told reporters the priority was to determine how Sturgess and her partner, 45-year-old Charlie Rowley who is critically ill, came across an item contaminated with Novichok, developed by the Soviet military during the Cold War.Britain and its allies blamed Russia for the attack in March on the Skripals, prompting the biggest Western expulsion of Russian diplomats since the Cold War. The Kremlin said Monday it would be "absurd" to suggest Russia was involved in Sturgess' death.Basu said the severe reaction of Sturgess and Rowley meant they must have received a high dose of Novichok.Yulia Skripal was in a coma for 20 days after she was attacked and was eventually discharged about five weeks after the poisoning.
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