In an effort to encourage citizens to have babies amid the coronavirus pandemic, the government of Singapore has taken an initiative to offer a one-time payment to aspiring parents.
Announcing the aid scheme, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said the initiative was taken as aspiring parents are reportedly scrapping their parenthood plan due to the crisis over Covid-19.
"This is fully understandable, especially when they face uncertainty with their income. The incentive would help reassure people who face financial pressure and are worried about their jobs," CNN quoted him as saying.
However, the extent of payment is yet to be disclosed.
Singapore has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, which it has struggled to boost for decades.
The scenario is in stark contrast to some of its neighbouriing countries like Indonesia and the Philippines, which are facing the prospect of a massive spike in pregnancies from their coronavirus lockdowns.
According to Singapore's current baby bonus system, eligible parents get up to $7,330 in benefits.
As per government data, Singapore's fertility rate touched an eight-year low in 2018 at a rate of 1.14 births per woman.
Not only Singapore, many other Asian countries are facing a similar issue of falling fertility rates, which could worsen during the pandemic downturn.
Earlier this year, China's birth rate fell to its lowest since the formation of the People's Republic of China 70 years ago. This came despite the easing of the much criticised one-child policy.
Singapore has successfully avoided the worst of the global pandemic, isolating suspected cases early, imposing strict lockdowns when clusters of infections became apparent, and using technological innovations to rush out a contact tracing network.
The deadly virus has so far killed just 27 people in the country, according to Johns Hopkins University.