Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday tried to reassure migrant workers who are stranded in the state that lockdown is not "lock-up", and appealed them to face the "challenge" of coronavirus by staying back.
"Lockdown is not lock-up, do not worry," he said.
He was speaking in a live webcast after hundreds of migrant workers gathered near Bandra railway station in Mumbai, seeking to head back home. The incident happened hours after the country-wide lockdown was extended till May 3 by PM Narendra Modi.
The Chief Minister spoke briefly in Hindi as he made a direct appeal to the migrants.
Following the incident, Union Home Minister Amit Shah called up the Maharashtra CM expressing concern over the large gathering of people and said it would weaken India's fight against coronavirus, officials said.
Thackeray also said his government was working on how to lift the lockdown and resume industrial activities.
Rising number of cases in Mumbai and Pune was a cause of concern, he admitted.
Maharashtra has conducted maximum number of coronavirus tests and has asked the Centre to allow experimental plasma treatment, he said.
"In Mumbai alone, 20,000 to 22,000 coronavirus tests have been carried out," he added.
There have been 2,334 COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, of which 230 have recovered while 32 are serious but stable, Thackeray said.
(With PTI inputs)
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