Panic across the Channel: #Macron in race against time to stop terrifying ...

BIRD flu has been identified in the south of France, with President Emmanuel Macron - already under pressure over his handling of the coronavirus vaccine rollout - being warned the country faces a race against time to contain the disease.

PUBLISHED: 15:43, Mon, Jan 11, 2021 | UPDATED: 15:43, Mon, Jan 11, 2021

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Bird flu virus discovered in eastern Europe in February

France is among several European countries to have reported highly contagious strains of bird flu since late last year, raising the prospector a repetition of 2016-17, when tens of millions of birds were slaughtered. The outbreak is sweeping through a duck-breeding area in a region known as the Landes, in the south west of France, where large numbers of birds have already been culled.

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We need to move faster.

Julien Denormandie

The outbreak is sweeping through a duck-breeding area in a region known as the Landes , in the south west of France, where large numbers of birds have already been culled.

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French Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie told radio station France Bleu Gascogne. on Friday: "We need to move faster.

"Nearly 400,000 ducks have been slaughtered in the Landes.”

Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Macron is facing a fresh headache as France struggles to contain the outbreak (Image: France)

Ducks in LandesDucks in the Landes are facing a mass cull (Image: GETTY)

Abattoirs had been requisitioned for the purpose he said, adding: “There will be several hundred thousand more, without doubt.”

The authorities have confirmed 119 outbreaks of H5N8 bird flu in the Landes, compared with 48 as of January. 1, the agriculture ministry said.

France's southwest is known for breeding ducks to supply the foie gras industry.

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French Agriculture Minister Julien DenormandieFrench Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie (Image: GETTY)

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Culling will be extended to a five-kilometre zone around the location of any outbreak, compared with 3 km previously, the ministry explained.

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