Read what is in the news today:
-- A preparatory senior economic officials' meeting for the 26th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat was held in Da Nang on Sunday, with Vietnam proposing 13 priorities for discussion at the upcoming retreat as ASEAN Chair in 2020.
-- Vietnam will begin collecting medical declaration from every citizen nationwide from March 10 in a bid to control the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said on Sunday.
-- Vietnam’s national COVID-19 steering committee has proposed temporarily halting the country’s visa-free travel policy for citizens from the European Union and the UK, as well as other European countries with over 500 confirmed cases or over 50 new infections reported in a single day.
-- Twenty people, including four Vietnamese, one Vietnamese Australian, and 15 foreigners, who are quarantined in Ho Chi Minh City for flying with the country’s 17th COVID-19 patient this month, have tested negative for the virus. Two other cases are waiting for their test results.
-- The administration of Hanoi is seeking to declare an epidemic after four new COVID-19 cases have been reported in the Vietnamese capital since Friday evening.
-- Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved VND350 billion (US$15 million) in aid for five provinces worst hit by the ongoing drought and saline intrusion in the Mekong Delta region, namely Ben Tre, Tien Giang, Long An, Kien Giang, and Ca Mau.
-- Police in Hanoi have busted a drug ring that transported narcotics from Laos across the northern border province of Dien Bien into the Vietnamese capital and arrested three suspects with evidence including 20 bricks of heroin weighing six kilograms in total, the Vietnam News Agency reported on Sunday.
-- Ly Son Island off the central Vietnamese province of Quang Ngai is off-limits to foreigners from 7:00 am on Monday while Vietnamese citizens are required to make medical declaration before visiting the island to control the spread of COVID-19, provincial authorities have announced.
-- K-12 students in dozens of Vietnamese cities and provinces, including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang, will stay home until at least March 15 in light of more than a dozen new COVID-19 cases reported across the country since Friday evening. Earlier, some administrations decided to allow senior high school students to go back to school on February 9.
-- The novel coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, has infected over 107,500 people and killed 3,649 globally, according to the Vietnamese Ministry of Health.