Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said that face mask is the only shield in the fight against the coronavirus as the state battles a recent spurt in daily cases, reported PTI.

Thackeray made the comments speaking at the Shivneri fort in Pune district as he paid his homage to Shivaji Bhonsale on his birth anniversary.

“Shivaji Maharaj fought several battles and established ‘swaraj’.... There is no need to tell how he fought the opponents,” Thackeray said. “No such battles are being fought now, and there are no swords and shields. But right now we are fighting a battle against the coronavirus and face mask is the only shield in the fight.”

He also attended several other programmes, including the “cradle ceremony”, at the fort. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar was also present at the event. In view of the coronavirus pandemic, the district administration had asked people not to gather at the Shivneri fort to celebrate the Shivaji’s birth anniversary.

On Thursday, Maharashtra had reported 5,427 coronavirus cases. The state logged more than 5,000 infections after a gap of 75 days, prompting authorities to impose new curbs in capital Mumbai. Fresh restrictions were also imposed in Amravati and Yavatmal districts.

Over the past few days, various political leaders and state ministers have tested positive for the infection, according to NDTV. These include ministers Rajesh Tope, Jayant Patil, Omprakash Babarao Kadu and Rajendra Shingne and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Raksha Khadse. Kadu said on Thursday that he tested positive for the second time.

As part of the new guidelines issued in Mumbai, Brihanmumbai Mumbai Corporation Commissioner S Chahal said that buildings in the city will be sealed if there are more than five active cases. “Stamps will be put on back of the hands of the patients staying in home quarantine,” Chahal added. “300 marshals will be hired to keep an eye on people traveling in local trains without face mask. Besides, additional marshals will be hired to keep an eye on violators in Mumbai.”

The BMC commissioner also said that wedding halls, clubs, and restaurants will be raided to check for any violation of safety rules. Citizens violating rules for home quarantine and gatherings will be punished.

In Amravati, a lockdown will be imposed from 8 pm on Saturday to 7 am on February 22. Markets, restaurants, hotels and swimming pools will remain closed during this time. The restrictions will not affect essential services.

In Yavatmal district schools and colleges will remain closed till the end of the month. Restaurants and banquet halls will only be allowed to operate at less than 50% capacity. A similar cap will be imposed on the number of guests at weddings.