The presence of a Zizzi restaurant opposite London’s Russian Embassy did not go unnoticed or unremarked upon this week, as journalists gathered to report on the ongoing standoff between Russia and the UK on the Salisbury poisoning case.

Another of the Zizzi chain - located in Salisbury - is one of the locations under scrutiny as part of a major investigation which authorities say could yet take months to complete. 

It was visited by Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on Sunday 4 March. 

A short time later they were found unconscious on a park bench in the centre of the city. 

They had been poisoned by a nerve agent from the Novichok group. 

Responsibility for the attack has been laid firmly at the feet of the Russian state, an accusation which the Kremlin flatly denies.

The events in the cathedral city of Salisbury have set off a chain reaction which will reverberate internationally for years.  

Away from the major political row which this attack has ignited, we learned more this week about the condition of the Skripals. 

The information did not come from a police or hospital press conference, but in a courtroom. 

The Court of Protection in London was told the father and daughter are in a critical but stable condition.

Mr Skripal is unable to communicate in any way, and his daughter unable to communicate in any "meaningful" way.

It is not inconceivable that their condition could "rapidly deteriorate" the court heard.  

The information came about as a result of a hearing under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, taken since neither of the Skripals’ are capable of giving direction about their medical care.  

The court granted permission for blood samples to be taken from them by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and for their hospital records to be accessed by the OPCW also.  

It is the above which it is hoped will reveal more about the agent used, even perhaps how better to treat Mr Skripal and his daughter.

But it was clear from the judgment that the prognosis for the 66-year-old and his 33-year-old daughter is bleak.

In his ruling, the judge said that an unidentified consultant who is treating the father and daughter said they are heavily sedated and it is not possible to say when, or to what extent, they might regain their mental capacity.  

They are being treated, the consultant added, "on the basis that they would wish to be kept alive".

There was better news for the policeman who came to their aid. 

Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey has been discharged from hospital and has asked for time and space to recuperate from what he called a "surreal" experience. 

For the Skripals though, the level of infection is clearly on a different scale.  

The chances of recovery also look vastly different as a result.