British police say the deadly nerve agent used to attack a former Russian spy in England back in March has now made two more people gravely ill. The couple suddenly fell sick Saturday in Amesbury, England, just 7 miles from where the ex-Russian agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned. The Skripals eventually recovered. Authorities say they don't know how this couple came into contact with the poison. We're joined now by Alice Fordham, who's been covering the story from London.
ALICE FORDHAM: Good evening, Ailsa.
CHANG: What exactly did British officials announce today?
FORDHAM: Well, the latest in a series of announcements today came from the U.K.'s most senior counterterrorism police officer. After analysis in laboratories, he said that two people in or around the town of Salisbury have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok. So this is a few months after the defected Russian agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, as you mentioned, were also poisoned by the same agent and nearly died in the same area. And British and international investigators identified that substance earlier in the year as Novichok. And it's the same one that's been used now, a substance that affects the functioning of the nerves, and it can be fatal.
CHANG: And Novichok — that seems to be the focus here in both of these cases. Can you tell us a little more about this substance?
FORDHAM: Well, just to give you a little bit of context, this little cathedral town of Salisbury became the center of, really, an international standoff between Russia and the West earlier in the year after it was established that Novichok had been used there. So after investigations by international experts and by the United Nations, Britain accused Russia of conducting a targeted attack on its agents that had defected and had worked for the United Kingdom and that Russia had conducted attack with a chemical agent, a highly toxic substance, on British soil. Now, the understanding was that Novichok is a substance that only Russia was likely to produce. And Ailsa, this resulted in an unprecedented response, really. Dozens of Russian diplomats were expelled from the U.K., and from the U.S. and from European countries, although Russia...
CHANG: I remember that, yeah.
FORDHAM: Yeah — denied any involvement in this.
CHANG: So is there any sense of how this couple, these two British citizens, came into contact with Novichok?
FORDHAM: So this is kind of the center of the mystery right now because, no, not really. Both of them have been identified as a man and a woman in their 40s, both British people, both from the local area. There's no reason particularly to imagine they have any contact with Russia. And they fell ill on Saturday, and the police at the time in the area actually released a statement saying they thought these two people had taken some contaminated illegal recreational drugs. But after they'd been in the hospital a few days, the police decided to investigate further. And as we've heard now, they've had the results back, and indeed, it does seem this couple were in contact with the substance, but we don't know why.
CHANG: And how are people in Britain reacting to today's developments?
FORDHAM: So the most immediate effect is that areas in Salisbury and in the little town of Amesbury nearby have been cordoned off to the public. The mayor for the area of Amesbury has told media that people are really scared, including children.
今年3月一名前俄罗斯间谍在英国中毒，警方表示，当时该间谍所中的致命神经毒剂现在再次导致两人中毒，且病情严重 。周六，英国一对夫妇在埃姆斯伯里突然病例，事发地与前俄罗斯间谍谢尔盖·斯克里帕尔和他女儿中毒的地方仅相隔7英里 。斯克里帕尔一家已经康复 。有关部门表示，他们不知道这对夫妻是如何接触到这种毒剂的 。现在我们来连线爱丽丝·福德汉姆，她一直在伦敦关注事态进展 。
福德汉姆：自事件发生之后英国公布了一系列声明，而今天的最新声明由英国最高级反恐警官宣布 。他表示，在进行了实验室分析之后，他们确定这对夫妻曾在索尔兹伯里或周围地区接触神经毒剂“诺维乔克” 。你刚才提到过，几个月以前叛逃俄罗斯的间谍谢尔盖·斯克里帕尔和他女儿所中的也是这种毒剂，而且差点在同一个地区死亡 。今年早些时候，英国和国际调查人员证实该毒剂为“诺维乔克” 。这对夫妻接触到的也是这一毒剂，它会对神经功能造成影响，可能致命 。
福德汉姆：我简单介绍一下背景，在神经毒剂“诺维乔克”在索尔兹伯里被使用一事曝光后，这个天主教小城就成为了俄罗斯与西方国家之间的国际僵局的中心 。国际专家和联合国进行了调查，英国指责俄罗斯对叛逃俄罗斯且为英国工作过的间谍实施针对性袭击，英国还指责俄罗斯在英国领土用高毒性化学毒剂实施袭击 。人们认为“诺维乔克”是只有俄罗斯才可能生产的剧毒物质 。艾尔萨，这导致了前所未有的回应 。数十名俄罗斯外交人员被英国、美国和欧洲国家驱逐出境，不过俄罗斯……
福德汉姆：这是目前这一谜题的关键，我们还不清楚 。这对夫妻今年40多岁，都是英国公民，且均来自当地 。没有特别的理由去猜测他们为什么与俄罗斯有联系 。二人在周六病例，当时当地警方曾发布声明 ，称他们认为这对夫妻服用了被污染的非法软性毒品 。但是在二人入院治疗几天之后，警方决定进行进一步调查 。正如我们所听到的，警方得到了调查结果，看起来这对夫妻的确接触到了这种神经毒剂，但是我们不知道原因 。
福德汉姆：最直接的影响是，索尔兹伯里地区和附近的埃姆斯伯里小镇对公众封锁 。埃姆斯伯里市长对媒体表示，包括儿童在内，人们非常害怕 。
1. come into contact with 接触；遇见；
Common sense tells us that most fuels can burn only when they come into contact with air.
2. be exposed to 使暴露于（险境）；使遭受（危险或不快）；
Women who ar e exposed to mercury, cadmium, or vinyl chloride before conceiving seem to be especially likely to have autistic kids.
3. result in 导致；引起；造成；
A lack of zinc and iron can result in memory lapses, poor concentration, and of course other ailments throughout the body.
4. cordon off (设置警戒线)包围，警戒，封锁；
Police cordoned off part of the city centre.