In what maybe the epicenter of the H1N1 pandemic, Hong Kong reported more new cases of human infections on Thursday, bringing the total number of infections to 221 in the city.

The total number of cases has grown almost daily this week, with 8 new cases reported on Monday, 14 on Tuesday, and 54 new cases yesterday and 49 today.

A spokesman for the Department of Health (DH) said on Thursday the department was investigating the new cases, of whom, six were imported cases while 28 are local. Classification of the other 15 cases is still pending. Involved were 22 female and 27 male aged between one and 55.

Among them are three boys and two girls, aged between 13 and 15, from five secondary schools which have been advised to suspend classes for two weeks starting June 19.

The decision was made after a joint assessment by Education Bureau (EDB) and the DH upon confirmation of contracted cases of human swine influenza in the schools.

DH was actively tracing students and teachers who might have been in contact with the contracted students and would offer treatment to and necessary medical surveillance for those in need.

An EDB spokesman said the schools had activated their Crisis Management Teams to handle matters relating to class suspension. The schools had also reminded their students to avoid going to crowded places during the class suspension period.

The spokesman added that cleansing and disinfection of the school premises are being arranged by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.

EDB will maintain close liaison with DH and the schools to offer timely support and advice, the department said.