MUMBAI: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said the war against COVID-19 will be won by the "whole-hearted participation" of people, who have to decide whether to follow protocols to contain the spread of the disease or remain in lockdown.
In a webcast, Thackeray said COVID-19 is a "foreign guest not leaving us despite our best efforts", and added that it is spreading from cities to rural areas.
He said 70 to 80 per cent COVID-19 patients are asymptomatic, and termed face mask as the self-defence or the "black belt" in the fight against the viral infection till a vaccine comes up.
"I don't want to impose strict laws or penalty against violators of the COVID-19 protocols. The war against the pandemic will be won by people's whole-hearted participation," he said.
"You have to decide whether you want to wear mask, follow physical distancing or be in lockdown. Whatever is started shouldn't be closed down again," he said.
On the demands for resumption of local train services for all citizens, the chief minister said he was not in favour of crowding in the suburban trains.
Till Saturday, Maharashtra reported 15,17,434 COVID-19 cases and 40,040 deaths due to the disease.
Thackeray also said he was in talks with gym owners for a standard operating procedure (SOP) for their services.
"In a gym, the heart pumping rate increases and if somebody is COVID-19 positive, the spread (by way of exhaling) will be faster," he said, adding one needs to figure out how to avoid that.
The chief minister also said his government was studying the new farm laws enacted by the Centre and if they are against the interests of farmers, they will not be implemented in the state.