Radiation tests after spy
Last Updated: Saturday, 25 November 2006, 19:41 GMT
Mr Litvinenko's condition deteriorated rapidly in
Tests are to be carried out on people who may have come
into contact with Russian ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko.
His death has been linked to the presence of a "major
dose" of radioactive polonium-210 in his body.
Radioactive traces were found at a London hotel and
sushi bar he visited on 1 November.
UK civil contingencies committee, Cobra, has met to
discuss the case, and Met Police say it is one of the
most difficult inquiries they have handled.
They say the case is so difficult partly because of the
more than two-week gap between the day former KGB agent
Litvinenko is thought to have been poisoned and police
beginning their investigation on 16 November.
They have been examining two meetings Mr Litvinenko had
on 1 November - one at the hotel with a
former KGB agent and another man, and a rendezvous at
the Itsu sushi restaurant in London's Piccadilly.
Mr Litvinenko fell ill later that day.
Anyone who was in the Itsu restaurant, or who was in the
Pine Bar of the hotel on 1 November has been
urged to contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647.
No post-mortem examination yet on Mr Litvinenko
An HPA spokeswoman said: "We expect that we are going to
do [urine] tests and we expect that they are going to be
negative and we have no reason to think customers are at
Police have been searching the sushi bar and a bedroom
at the hotel, but investigations at Itsu are
now complete and the premises are being decontaminated.
Meanwhile, chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson has
issued advice to GPs and hospitals on the risks and
clinical implications of exposure to Polonium-210.
BBC home affairs correspondent Andy Tighe said various
sites are regarded as crime scenes.
Officers are also interviewing witnesses in an attempt
to find out who Mr Litvinenko met around the time he
fell ill. CCTV footage is also be scrutinised.
Tests are being carried out at the two London hospitals
where Mr Litvinenko had been treated, University College
and the Barnet General, the Health Protection Agency (HPA)
"We want to reassure the public that the risk of having
been exposed to this substance remains low, the HPA
Officers are examining material taken various scenes
"It can only represent a radiation hazard if it is taken
into the body - by breathing it in, by taking it into
the mouth, or if it gets into a wound. It is not a
radiological hazard as long as it remains outside the
A post-mortem examination on Mr Litvinenko has not yet
been held. The delay is believed to be over concerns
about the health implications for those present at the
Police searches are taking place at Mr Litvinenko's
house in Muswell Hill, north London, where radioactive
traces were discovered, and other places he had been.
1 Nov - Alexander Litvinenko meets two Russian men at a
London hotel and then meets Italian academic Mario
Scaramella at a sushi bar in Piccadilly. Hours later he
falls ill and is admitted to Barnet General Hospital
17 Nov - Mr Litvinenko is transferred to UCH
19 Nov - Reports say Mr Litvinenko is poisoned with
21 Nov - A toxicologist says he may have been poisoned
with "radioactive thallium"
22 Nov - Mr Litvinenko's condition deteriorates
overnight. Thallium and radiation ruled out
23 Nov - The ex-spy dies in intensive care
24 Nov - His death is linked to radioactive polonium-210
Litvinenko statement in full
Reaction: Russian's death
Timeline of case in full
Friends have said Mr Litvinenko was poisoned because of
his criticism of Russia.
In a statement dictated before he died at University
College Hospital on Thursday, the 43-year-old accused
Russian President Vladimir Putin of involvement in his
death. He was known to be a fierce critic of Mr Putin.
Mr Litvinenko had recently been investigating the murder
of his friend, Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya,
another critic of the Kremlin.
Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov reiterated the
Kremlin's earlier dismissal of allegations of
involvement in the poisoning as "sheer nonsense".
Mr Putin himself has said Mr Litvinenko's death was a
tragedy, but he saw no "definitive proof" it was a
Russian newspapers - many of which are controlled by the
Kremlin - have also reacted angrily to implications that
Moscow was involved in Mr Litvinenko's death.
The Foreign Office has passed on a request through the
Russian ambassador for authorities in Moscow to make
available any details which might help British police
with the case.