SINGAPORE: The number of COVID-19 cases in Singapore reached nearly 30,000 on Thursday (May 21), with 448 new cases reported as of noon.
This brings the total number of cases in the country to 29,812.
A 73-year-old Singaporean man - Case 4689 - died from complications due to COVID-19 on Thursday. He is the 23rd person to die from the coronavirus in Singapore.
He had tested positive for COVID-19 on Apr 17 and had a history of hypertension, hyperlipidaemia and hypothyroidism.
"The National Centre for Infectious Diseases has reached out to his family and is extending assistance to them," the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.
A total of 14 new community cases were reported, including 13 Singaporeans or permanent residents. One is a work permit holder.
READ: Singapore reports highest number of new COVID-19 cases among citizens or PRs in more than 3 weeks
"Of these, seven cases were picked up from our active surveillance and screening of nursing home residents and pre-school staff, and four are part of a family cluster linked to a dormitory.
"Epidemiological investigations are ongoing for the other two cases," the ministry said.
A total of three new cases were staff members at pre-schools.
Two had gone to work after the onset of symptoms. A 40-year-old Singaporean woman went to work at My First Skool @ 303 Canberra and a 58-year-old Singaporean woman went to work at PCF Sparkletots Preschool @ Gambas.
The third woman, a 34-year-old Singaporean, did not go to work after experiencing symptoms. MOH did not say where she worked.
READ: 3 pre-school employees contract COVID-19, leave of absence issued to 'small group' of children, staff
Four of the newly confirmed cases are linked to a new cluster at Orange Valley Nursing Home in 6 Simei Street 3, where they are all residents.
The four residents are Singaporean women aged between 72 and 97 years old. They all tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday.
FAMILY LINKED TO DORMITORY CLUSTER
Four of the Singaporean COVID-19 patients announced by MOH on Thursday are family members of a man who had gone to work at Cochrane Lodge II dormitory in Admiralty after the onset of symptoms.
All four are also household contacts of Case 28271, the Singaporean woman who went to work at Bishan MRT station after the onset of symptoms.
That means five household contacts of the woman, an SMRT service ambassador for the Circle Line, have now tested positive for COVID-19. Earlier this week, a 30-year-old man linked to the woman had contracted the disease.
Within this family, the Singaporean who went to work at Cochrane Lodge II is a 62-year-old man. He tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday.
"The number of new cases in the community has decreased, from an average of seven cases per day in the week before, to an average of six per day in the past week," MOH added.
The number of unlinked cases in the community has remained unchanged, at an average of two per day in the past two weeks.
910 MORE PATIENTS DISCHARGED
Of the 448 new cases, 434 are foreign workers living in dormitories, MOH said.
"We continue to pick up many cases among work permit holders residing in dormitories, including in factory-converted dormitories, because of extensive testing in these premises, as part of our process to verify and test the status of all workers."
MOH said 99 per cent of the new cases are linked to known clusters while the rest are pending contact tracing. Further details can be found in the ministry's daily situation report.
The ministry added that it has been monitoring existing clusters for any further transmission.
Three clusters were closed as there have been no more cases linked to them for 28 days. They are Natureland East Coast, Wing Fong Court and 112 Neythal Road.
Another 910 COVID-19 patients have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In all, 12,117 have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospitals or community care facilities.
A total of 16,771 patients are isolated and cared for at community facilities. These are people who have mild symptoms, or are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19.
READ: Singapore to gradually reopen borders, plans to resume essential travel among countries with low COVID-19 transmission rate
On Wednesday, MOH said COVID-19 cases among work permit holders living outside dormitories have been added to the daily count of community cases. These cases were previously listed under a separate category.
A large number of work permit holders were placed on mandatory stay-home notices, but the notices have since expired.
"Hence we have now updated the definition of 'cases in the community' to include all cases (including among work permit holders) who are detected outside of the dormitories," said the ministry.
READ: Transition to a 'new normal' after circuit breaker: How will measures be lifted beyond Phase 1?
Singapore will exit its "circuit breaker" period as planned on Jun 1, with measures to be progressively lifted in three phases from the following day.
The country will also gradually reopen its borders to allow Singaporeans to conduct essential activities abroad and for foreigners to enter and transit through the country.
Travellers will be allowed to transit through Changi Airport from Jun 2, with measures in place to ensure that passengers remain in designated facilities in the transit area.