Pic: AP.

BEIJING (AP) — China is making arrangements for an extra 2 million babies per year as it loosens its one-child policy to give more couples the opportunity to have two children.

Zhang Shikun, an official with the National Health and Family Planning Commission, said Thursday that authorities have asked local officials to build more health-care facilities for women and children and add more maternity beds.

The Communist Party announced in November that it was allowing families in which at least one parent was an only child to be allowed to have a second child. Previously, both parents had to be an only child to qualify for this exemption.

The figure of 2 million is at the top end of previous estimates by experts of how many more births are likely to result.