Here are today’s leading news stories:
-- Vietnamese Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong on Monday appealed to all compatriots, comrades and soldiers nationwide and overseas Vietnamese to stay united in the fight against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
-- Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc agreed to declare COVID-19 a nationwide pandemic while chairing a meeting of the cabinet in Hanoi on Monday.
-- A ten-year-old Vietnamese who traveled from Turkey to Ho Chi Minh City on March 15 has tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the country 204th patient, the Ministry of Health confirmed on Tuesday morning.
-- Starting Monday, all private clinics in Ho Chi Minh City have been closed, while local hospitals no longer allow people to visit patients in a bid to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic.
-- Authorities in the central province of Quang Nam have announced a list of five hotels and resorts where people can choose to undergo their quarantine period for VND600,000-900,000 (US$25-37) per day.
-- The United States has earmarked a total of $274 million in emergency health and humanitarian assistance for 64 countries hit by the COVID-19 epidemic, including Vietnam, which would receive $3 million worth of support.
-- The Hanoi People’s Committee on Monday ordered the municipal Department of Health to establish ten task forces to carry out quick COVID-19 tests, which can return results after ten minutes, on people in multiple areas.
-- The Council of the European Union on Monday passed a decision to ratify the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), paving the way for the deal to come into force. Once ratified by the Vietnamese National Assembly, the deal is expected to officially take effect at the beginning of this summer.
-- Toyota Motor Vietnam suspended its vehicle production on Monday as the COVID-19 epidemic has impacted all aspects of its business operations.
-- The $170 million Sunshine aerospace components manufacturing facility has been inaugurated in the central city of Da Nang, according to the Da Nang Hi-Tech Park and Industrial Zones Authority.
-- The novel coronavirus has infected nearly 783,900 people and killed more than 37,700 around the world as of Tuesday morning, according to Ministry of Health statistics. More than 165,000 patients have recovered.