Hopes that Britain’s foot and mouth outbreak might be receding have been hit by the identification of over 20 new sites overnight. The new cases bring the total of confirmed cases to 106.

New cases had been identified in four counties not previously affected by the disease shattering hopes that the disease had been contained by the government’s ban on animal movement.

Ben Gill, President of the National Farmers’ Union, said he expected the total to rise over the next few days as the spread of cases across the country meant potential new outbreaks were significant.

Prime Minister Tony Blair told parliament that draconian government measures introduced by the government were beginning to have effect but cautioned against relaxing restrictions too hastily.

The number of livestock earmarked for slaughter now stands at 90,000.