British and Portuguese governments play down radiation risks

BOTH THE British and Portuguese authorities have minimised the risks of Portuguese citizens in London being contaminated with radioactive polomium-210.

The statements follow in the wake of the death of former Russian secret service agent Alexander Litvinenko, who died in a London hospital on November 23, from organ failure as a result of radiation poisoning.

Three Portuguese citizens were subjected to tests in a London hospital after staying in hotels where traces of the radioactive substance were found.

All three are not considered in any danger of significant contamination to either short or long terms health effects.

“The Secretary of State for the Communities, António Braga said in a press conference on December 13: “The Portuguese are now back at home and are perfectly calm. There is no indication of any risk.

The three Portuguese citizens were tested after staying in three hotels, which showed traces of polonium-210. The tests were carried out simply as a precaution.”

The Portuguese chief medical officer, Francisco George added: “Despite the risk of contamination being at a minimum, the Portuguese were advised to undertake examinations.”

According to Francisco George, the Portuguese have so far not exhibited any symptoms of radiation poisoning and are unlikely to do so.

British authorities have detected polonium-210 in various public places, including two British Airways jet liners, hotels in Beaufort Gardens, Cavendish Place and Shaftesbury Avenue, a Sushi bar in London and the British Embassy in Moscow.

In addition, four people in Germany have tested positive for the substance – the ex-wife of a Russian businessman, her current partner and two small children, while the Italian academic, who had lunch with Litvinenko on the day of his alleged poisoning, remains well.

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