Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday assured the public that the state has adequate inventory of essential commodities amid the coronavirus pandemic, and appealed to people to not step out of their homes during the lockdown, reported PTI. Covid-19 has infected 98 people, and caused two deaths in the state so far, according to the Union Ministry of Health.

“There is enough stock of essential commodities and the essential services will continue to function,” he said in a video address on the occasion of Gudi Padwa. “I appeal to employers not to cut wages of their workers or stop their services. Don’t flock to the markets. To purchase essential commodities, go to the market alone and maintain distance,” he added. “We will win this war and celebrate Gudi Padwa as usual.”

The chief minister added that his government will support the poor and daily wage labourers who have lost their livelihoods in the time of the crisis. He assured people that private business had been assisting in making necessary healthcare arrangements by setting up hospitals and manufacturing masks.

Thackeray drew parallels between the pandemic and war. “Here, the virus is our enemy,” he said. “If we venture out, the virus may attack us and enter our homes. This is just like war-time when it has to be ensured that planes are not seen on the enemy’s radar.”

He said, on a positive note, the situation has given people the chance to spend time with their families. “Some are spending time reading books, playing indoor games, taking out their musical instruments and playing them,” he said. “What we had lost, we can regain now.”

India on Wednesday began a 21-day lockdown in an attempt to break the chain of infection. The lockdown will be in effect till April 14. The health ministry has so far confirmed 562 coronavirus cases and said that 512 of these are active cases.

One person died of the novel coronavirus infection in Tamil Nadu, taking India’s toll from Covid-19 cases to 10. Though the toll had risen to 10 on Tuesday evening itself, the Centre on Wednesday morning reversed the positive status of one person who had died in Delhi. It has also not yet confirmed the death in Madurai.

Before the countrywide lockdown, Thackeray on Monday announced a statewide curfew, saying that residents had not heeded the lockdown measures imposed in four districts to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which bars the gathering or more than four persons, had been imposed across the state, but huge traffic jams were reported at some check nakas in Mumbai.