THE health boss managing cases of coronavirus in Somerset and the rest of the South West played a major role in safeguarding the residents of Salisbury following the Novichok poisonings.

Tracy Dasciewicz is at the forefront of Public Health England's fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, managing cases of the virus in the region.

She took a central role in the aftermath of the Novichok attack on Russian double agent Sergie Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in March 2018.

Ms Dasciewicz, played by Anne-Marie Duff, features in the three-part BBC1 dramatisation of the atrocity which started yesterday (Sunday).

At the time, she was the director of public health for Wiltshire Council.

When the Russian spies who have been named by Britain as carrying out the attack, she had only been doing the job for a matter of weeks.

Her job involved plotting the path of the victims of the Novichok poisonings and contact tracing people they had been in contact with.

On her orders, a Zizzi's restaurant where the Skripals had eaten lunch and a police station where DS Nick Bailey had worked before also being poisoned were closed.

She said: "Over those first 48 hours we never quite knew what we were going in to or what the risks and challenges would be. There were ‘oh s**t’ moments for sure."

Over the next year, she worked with the Strategic Co-ordinating Group of public bodies that had to investigate and clean up the nerve agent to protect the public.

Before her role in the Novichok case that resulted in the world's media on her doorstep, Ms Dasciewicz dealt with instances of food poisoning, hospital infections and outbreaks of nits.