Modi announces 14-hour lockdown drill on March 22

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday appealed to citizens to observe a self-curfew on March 22 as part of a trial-run to test social isolation to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

In his address to the nation, Modi said the growing challenge posed by the coronavirus was not normal, and urged everyone to practice social distancing.

“These are testing times but we all have to maintain discipline to prevent spread of the virus,” he said, adding the pandemic has severely affected the Indian economy.

Mr Modi also appealed to citizens to stay home and avoid panic buying and assured India that there would be no shortage of essential goods.

His appeal came as retailers said they were struggling to keep up with demand as consumers rush to stockpile supplies.

Modi’s plea also came shortly after India said it plans to halt any incoming international flights from landing in the country as of 2001 GMT on March 22.