Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday night appealed to citizens not to panic over the nation-wide lockdown announced by the Centre in the wake of coronavirus outbreak, saying there is enough foodgrain stock in the state.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a complete nationwide lockdown for 21 days from Tuesday midnight, asserting that unless India's 130 crore people practice social distancing, the country will lose the war against coronavirus outbreak and slide back 21 years.
"There is enough foodgrain stock and I appeal to people not to pile up stocks," Thackeray said in his live address on social media.
Maharashtra, which has reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases (107) among states so far, is already under lockdown and the PM's announcement means extension of the drastic measure in the state.
The CM said he spoke to Modi after the announcement of national lockdown, made in his second broadcast in a week on the pandemic, and shared his assessment that the coronavirus situation is serious.
Thackeray said like others his heart also skipped a beat when the PM announced that no one should step out of their homes during the lockdown.
However, after speaking to Modi post the address, he realised that essential services will remain accessible to people during the lockdown period as is the case in Maharashtra, Thackeray said.
"Like everyone, my heart also skipped a beat after the PM's announcement. But I spoke to PM and told him Maharashtra was already under lockdown since the last two days.
"Essential services will continue to be available and people should not have any misunderstanding or confusion regarding this. Medical shops and pharma companies will continue to function as usual," Thackeray said.
"As the PM said, the problem is serious and people should understand that to remain safe we need to stay in our homes. If we come out, the virus will come in our homes," the chief minister said.
In a tweet, Thackeray said, "Whatever measures the state government has already announced will continue. Essential services will continue to function. Don't panic and get confused...don't come on the streets and crowd markets and shops."