Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said masks are a must in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus for the next six months.
Addressing people of the state on social media, Mr Thackeray said experts are in favour of imposing night curfew or another lockdown, but he is not in favour of these steps.
The Chief Minister appealed to people to be careful during the New Year celebrations.
The coronavirus situation in the state is under control, though not completely, he said.
"Prevention is better than cure. Wearing of mask at public places should be made a habit for another six months at least," Mr Thackeray said.
Those who don't follow the safety protocol should know they are putting lives of others, who are abiding by rules, at risk, he said.
Asking people to be careful while welcoming the New Year, he said the discovery of a new strain of the virus in Europe has resulted in lockdown in several countries as there was no other option.
The chief minister said even though life is slowly limping back to normalcy in the state, reopening of schools has been a problem.
Hitting out at the BJP for calling him egoistic, Mr Thackeray said he "had ego for the welfare of Mumbai and Maharashtra".
"Governments come and go, but development is for people and their future generations," he said.
Mr Thackeray also said his government has been utmost transparent in releasing statistics regarding COVID-19 positive cases and deaths due to the disease.
Maharashtra reported 3,940 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, taking the state tally to 18,92,707. It also reported 74 deaths due to the pandemic, taking the death count to 48,648.