Blair announced Thursday that Britain will soon cease burning carcasses of animals slaughtered to combat foot-and-mouth the disease.
Blair's cautiously upbeat assessment made it more likely that he will call a national election in early June, at the same time as local elections.
The government has caught up with the backlog of dead animals awaiting disposal in Devon, the county in southwestern England which was one of the hardest-hit areas, Blair said.
One last pyre was to be lit in Devon on Thursday to burn carcasses, but that would be the last, he said.
"This will mean that no more pyres dispose of large numbers of carcasses will be lit after today's."
Nine more infected farms were confirmed on Wednesday, raising the total to 1,539 since the first case was announced on Feb. 20, the Ministry of Agriculture said.
The government has relaxed its policy of slaughtering livestock on farms next to infected sites, and has declared some previously infected areas disease-free.
There are only five or six new cases appearing each day, reports Dozier, where at the height of the outbreak, vets were diagnosing thirty to forty.
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