Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday urged the people of the state not to step out of their homes unnecessarily to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Seeking people's cooperation in the "war against a virus", Thackeray said that after an appeal made by the government, the number of people visiting public places and using public transport system has gone down.
He, however, said that it must stop completely.
"This is a war against a virus and we can win it with determination and not by getting frightened or creating panic," Thackeray said in his 10-minute-long televised address.
"People should not panic. But they should not step out of their homes unnecessarily...Crowding in public transport system has gone down, but it has to stop completely. We don't wish to take the drastic step of shutting down the public transport. But non-essential travel must stop," he said.
The medical staff, police personnel, NGOs, staff of public transport were working round-the-clock to deal with the situation, he said.
"When they are fighting for you, can't you stay indoors and help them deal with the crisis? The government can stop public transport. But we don't wish to do it. People should work from home and stop venturing out," he said.
The chief minister said he had spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the coronavirus situation and he had assured all cooperation to the state.
"I discussed with him the steps being taken by the state and the support required from the Centre," he said.
People should follow the rules and directives issued by the government to tackle the prevailing situation, he added.
"It is wrong to hide your travel history and venture out after coming back," he said.
Thackeray likened the medical staff treating the coronavirus patients to soldiers.
"I haven't seen the 1965 or 1971 wars, but experienced them. I was very young. But I remember that after hearing the sirens people would run to take shelter. Lights at homes would be switched off to prevent the enemy fighter jets from locating the areas. It is said enemy jets had entered the Mumbai airspace in 1971. But our bravesoldiers dealt with the intrusion firmly," he said.
"The official machinery is similarly dealing with the prevailing situation with firmness and they need your support and cooperation," he said.
The government and the official machinery is prepared to tackle the crisis. There is adequate medical staff, equipment and essential commodities, he said.
Thackeray said the virus has come from other countries.
"When you arrive here and are self-quarantined, it is with trust that you are allowed to stay at home. But venturing out and spreading the virus is wrong," he said.
War can be won with determination and not by getting frightened and panic, he said.
The chief minister said that testing facilities were being increased.
He also asked the people not to believe in rumours.
"Listen to only what the government is telling you and nobody else," he said.
"Maharashtra is a fighter and will defeat the virus," Thackeray said.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh said that police have been asked to take action against those who violate the mandatory quarantine amid the coronavirus outbreak in the state.
Instances of persons, many of them with recent travel-history to a foreign country, ignoring the advice of home isolation have come to light in the last few days.
"There have been complaints of people who are under mandatory quarantine period violating the norms and going out in public. I have asked the police to initiate action against them under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897," the minister said.
"There have been instances of people running away from the quarantine facility or not staying at home even after being asked by the health department officials," he said.
"The people returning from foreign tours are put under mandatory quarantine as a precaution. But there have been reports of people flouting quarantine which poses a serious threat to the health of other people," he added.
Most of the confirmed Covid-19 patients in Maharashtra have returned from a foreign country.
Those who have traveled abroad recently should stay in home isolation for at least 14 days even if they do not have any symptoms of the disease, the government has said.