A commission of inquiry should be set up to look into the Government's handling of the bird flu crisis, the Democratic Party said yesterday. Party chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming said an independent investigation was needed to ensure the authorities were better prepared for any similar crisis. And he accused Tung Chee-hwa of a failure of leadership. 'Lots of people would have expected the Chief Executive, who brags about executive-led government, to take charge of the matter himself,' Mr Lee said. 'Although there is no quarantine on this matter yet, the Chief Executive seems to have decided to quarantine himself from the public.' He said the crisis had exposed the Government's inability to cope with serious problems, especially when the issue did not fall within the jurisdiction of a single department. He said Mr Tung had failed to respond to public fears at the start of the crisis. 'When you've got a serious matter like this, in any democratic country you expect the prime minister or the president to call a special press conference to tell the people not to panic . . . 'The only way to make sure there's no panic among the people is to let them know somebody is in charge . . . that they know how to deal with the problems. But that is something we don't see even now.' However, Mr Lee said now was not the time to call for officials to resign. Efforts should be dedicated to handling the virus. The party also warned of a second wave of bird flu. Health spokesman Dr Huang Chen-ya said 'a new strain of superbug' might appear if the virus got mixed up with common flu during winter. 'And the authorities in Guangdong still refuse to admit the possibility of the bird virus being already present in Guangdong chickens, and possibly also in humans. 'There is a high danger that we may have an outbreak of the disease in the cities of China, which might be more serious and might come back to Hong Kong,' Dr Huang said. He said the Department of Health should be on alert and the Government should subsidise private clinics to carry out free bird flu tests. The party's Fred Li Wah-ming suggested setting up laboratories at border check-points to speed up tests for chickens from the mainland after importation resumes.