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One-off additional support to be given to parents of newborns: DPM Heng

SINGAPORE — The Government will introduce a one-off added support for newborns on top of the Baby Bonus Cash Gift, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said in Parliament on Monday (Oct 5).

The Government has received feedback that Covid-19 has caused some couples to postpone their parenthood plans.

The Government has received feedback that Covid-19 has caused some couples to postpone their parenthood plans.

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SINGAPORE — The Government will introduce a one-off added support for newborns on top of the Baby Bonus Cash Gift, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said in Parliament on Monday (Oct 5).

He did not elaborate, saying that Ms Indranee Rajah, a Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, will share more details on this soon. 

Eligible parents now receive up to S$10,000 in benefits through the Baby Bonus Cash Gift, which is given out in five instalments over 18 months following a child's birth.

Mr Heng said that the move to offer extra help comes after the Government received feedback that Covid-19 has caused some couples to postpone their parenthood plans. 

“This is fully understandable, especially when they face uncertainty with their income. Hence, to help with expenses during this period, we will introduce a one-off additional support for newborns,” he said.

FIGHTING COVID-19

Mr Heng said that even while Singapore is adapting to living with the pandemic, the Government has worked out the steps to further reopen the economy safely in the months ahead, by focusing on four key areas.

The first is vaccination, he said, adding that the Government is working “very actively” to secure early access to safe and effective vaccines, if and when they become available. 

Singapore is an early supporter of the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access (Covax) Facility, which accelerates the development and production of, as well as equitable access to potential Covid-19 vaccines. 

Singapore is also pursuing the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines with a number of pharmaceutical companies and the Government is also supportin efforts here to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, and to build up its vaccine manufacturing capacity.

The second area of focus, Mr Heng said, is testing.

Singapore has increased its Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing capacity manifold, and is close to its target of being able to conduct 40,000 laboratory tests a day.

“We are also evaluating new testing technologies that are less invasive and can produce test results more quickly. This enhanced testing capability will help us safely resume more activities sooner,” he added.

The third focus area is tracing, since swift contact tracing and isolation of infected individuals are key to limiting the spread of the virus, Mr Heng said. 

Fourth is safe management. 

“We must continue to adhere to safe management measures, and do our part to facilitate contact tracing. Keeping community infections low is the key to reopening our economy safely,” he said.

Mr Heng also noted that the ministerial task force handling Singapore’s response to Covid-19 will be releasing more details in the coming weeks on what people can expect ahead, including the projected timeline for moving to the final phase of reopening the economy and changes to current regulations.

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Covid-19 coronavirus newborn Heng Swee Keat Baby Bonus

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