Government officials are analysing samples from two new sites at the centre of foot-and-mouth scares after animals showed symptoms of the virus.

A temporary 3km control zone has been set up around each of the premises, at Romney Marsh in Kent, and in Surrey, between Epsom and Esher. A similar case last week near Dorking proved to be a false alarm.

Chief Veterinary Officer Debby Reynolds said: ““The containment and eradication of foot-and-mouth disease remains our priority. We are in a crucial week for vigilance and planning next steps. Today's developments are part of our ongoing surveillance and testing and I would take this opportunity to reiterate the need for the highest standards of biosecurity on farms, and for people to remain vigilant for disease and report any suspicions quickly.”

The animals’ owners were praised for their alertness. The suspected outbreak at St Mary in the Marsh, Kent, is the first one outside the county of Surrey where the initial confirmed outbreaks were and where the Merial pharmaceutical works and government animal health lab at Pirbright are situated. The site has been confirmed as potentially the source of the strain of virus that caused the disease.

The Culture Secretary James Purnell announced the Government would give £1m towards a marketing campaign to tempt Britons to holiday at home. The home tourism industry is suffering from the effects of widespread floods earlier in th