Environment Secretary David Miliband warned today that there was a continual risk of further bird flu outbreaks.
But he told the Commons there had so far been no re-occurrence of the virus since the cull at the Bernard Matthews factory in Suffolk. And he indicated restrictions in the area could be lifted as early as the second week in March.
Mr Miliband was updating MPs on the situation as it was reported that hundreds of workers face being laid off due to the bird flu outbreak. He said that since the turkey cull, tests had been completed on 12 dead wild birds and results were negative.
Tests had also been completed on poultry samples from 21 premises in the protection zone and in all cases there was no evidence of infection.
"The experts say that a period of two weeks from an outbreak is the time of greatest risk, but it is vital that we do not in any way relax our guard."
The earliest time at which bird flu restriction zones in Suffolk could be lifted was the second week of March - provided there were no further outbreaks or suspect cases in the area.
Mr Miliband said officials’ working hypothesis was now that the spread of the virus was associated with the import of poultry products from Hungary but this was not being pursued to the exclusion of other possibilities.
"We are examining all possible routes of transmission, but our investigation of the cause of the incident has focused on transport links between Hungary and the site in Holton and at biosecurity at the site."