The confirmation of the first local cluster of swine flu cases yesterday was a milestone for Hong Kong in adjusting its pandemic policy, the health minister said. Secretary for Food and Health York Chow Yat-ngok said the city had moved from the 'containment' phase to an early 'mitigation' phase in the control of swine flu. This means that, instead of trying to contain the disease by quarantining all patients and their contacts, the government will now concentrate resources on mitigating the spread of the virus and any serious illness or deaths it could cause. Closing schools, and stringent public hygiene are among the mitigation measures. Since the first imported swine flu case was reported in Hong Kong on May 1, involving a Mexican tourist, the Centre for Health Protection has been quarantining all swine flu patients and tracing their contacts. The patients have also been given supervised treatment with the anti-viral drug Tamiflu. Dr Chow said that since the city had moved to the early mitigation stage, the centre would no longer trace patients' social contacts. The centre would only investigate patients' close contacts, who had a high risk of becoming infected with the virus. He said if the virus was spreading widely in the community, the centre would eventually abolish supervised Tamiflu treatment and use Tamiflu solely to treat swine flu patients in serious condition. Dr Chow said control measures at border checkpoints, including health declarations and temperature scans and the daily reporting of new swine flu cases, would continue. Medical sector legislator Leung Ka-lau said it was reasonable for the government to close schools following the 12 reported swine flu cases at St Paul's Convent School in Causeway Bay, and move to mitigation measures. But Dr Leung said the administration's flu policy was inconsistent. 'The outbreak at St Paul's Convent School showed that secondary students are subject to the risk of swine flu, but the government closes primary schools and kindergartens. Secondary schools should be closed as well,' he said.