The best efforts of quarantine officials to stop the spread of bird flu appear ever more likely to be in vain after a suspected case of the virus was reported in Korea's central Gyeonggi-do Province.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said on Tuesday that a chicken farm in city of Pyeongtaek has been cordoned off and investigations are underway.
If confirmed, this would be the first case of bird flu at a farm in Gyeonggi-do Province and it raises fears the virus is encircling the capital, Seoul.
Meanwhile, disease prevention authorities have started using helicopters to fumigate areas in Korea's central Chungcheongnam-do and Gyeonggi-do provinces, where migratory birds carrying the virus have been found.
The government and the ruling Saenuri Party will hold an emergency meeting later on this Tuesday to coordinate efforts to stem the spread of the virus over the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday.