Tesla chief Elon Musk on Wednesday called the coronavirus confinement a "fascist" action and "an outrage" that infringes on personal freedom, one that will damage the economy.
The billionaire entrepreneur, speaking on an earnings update for the electric carmaker, lashed out at the orders which forced the shutdown of production in California and said he remained "a bit worried" about when production would resume.
He condemned shelter in place orders, "or as we call it, forcibly imprisoning people in their homes, against all their constitutional rights ... and breaking people's freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong, and not why people came to America or built this country.".
"It's (an) outrage," he continued, adding that the lockdowns would cause "great, great harm but not just to Tesla but any company. And while people will weather the storm there are many small companies that will not."
The comments by Musk, who is also the founder of the private space exploration firm SpaceX, come amid caution by authorities in the US and other parts of the world about easing restrictions imposed to contain the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
"I think people are going to be very angry about this," he said.
"They should be allowed to stay in the house and they should not be compelled to leave. But to say that they cannot leave their house, and they will be arrested if they do, this is fascist. This is not democratic. This is not freedom. Give people back their goddamn freedom."