The statistical trend of the foot-and-mouth outbreak seems to be flattening out and may be heading downward, says David King, the government's chief scientific adviser. Professor was cautiously optimistic about the downward trend of the disease's spread as it was announced that strict rules on animal movement in infected areas are to be eased. The government announced the relaxing of restrictions which had been criticised for harming the welfare of animals. The number of confirmed foot-and-mouth cases rose by 27 on Wednesday to 1,233. But Prof. King said the latest figures showed a steady decrease in the average number of new cases per day. The average of 32 per day for the week ending 8 April compared to 43 per day the previous week, he is quoted by BBC as saying. Speaking after a meeting with farmers and tourism leaders in Devon, Prime Minister Tony Blair said he welcomed Prof. King's view, but said the country should not get complacent.