As many as 577 children across India were orphaned after their parents died due to the coronavirus disease from April 1 till Tuesday, Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani has said citing reports of states and Union Territories.

“GOI [Government of India] is committed to support and protect every vulnerable child due to loss of both parents to Covid-19,” Irani tweeted.

Reports said the Ministry of Women and Child Development took up the matter of children who lost both their parents to the virus after posts for adopting them started flooding social media.

An official of the ministry told The Hindu that these children have not been abandoned. “They are under the watch and protection of the government,” the official added. “We have collected this data from each state government, and we are in touch with them to ensure that these children either get institutional care or are in the care of their immediate family.”

The official assured that the government will make efforts to ensure that children were not uprooted from familial settings, adding that each district is given Rs 10 lakh under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme for non-institutional child care.

On May 4, Irani had urged citizens to report instances of children found to be orphaned by Covid-19 to either the helpline 1098 or child welfare committees or the local police. “It is illegal to give or take orphan children of any one else in adoption,” she warned.

On May 21, the Centre had issued an advisory to states and Union territories to review the facilities for vulnerable groups impacted by Covid-19, such as children who have been orphaned, senior citizens and members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, who may need guidance to access government support facilities.