What you need to know in Vietnam today:
-- Vietnam’s health ministry reported 14,929 new COVID-19 infections on Friday, alongside 4,633 recoveries and 141 virus-related fatalities, raising the respective total figures since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in the country to 2,218,137, 1,950,244, and 37,435.
-- Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung requested in a dispatch sent to provincial and municipal authorities that all types of festivals and fireworks displays scheduled for the 2022 Lunar New Year celebrations be canceled for COVID-19 prevention.
-- Functional forces in southern Kien Giang Province are investigating the cause and calculating damage after many fishing boats at Ba Hon Port suddenly burst into flames on Friday evening.
-- A truck running on the Thi Nghe Bridge in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City suddenly lost control, hitting a series of motorbikes in the opposite direction and injuring many people on Friday afternoon.
-- The investigation agency under the Ministry of Public Security has seized, blocked and averted real estate transactions and accounts worth VND1.22 trillion (US$53.86 million) relating to the COVID-19 test kit overcharging case at Viet A Technologies JSC, an officer said on Friday.
-- Value added tax (VAT) for services and goods in Vietnam shall be cut from current ten percent to eight percent, applicable since February 1 as part of a stimulus program for businesses affected by COVID-19.
-- Vietnam-Australia trade turnover reached $12.4 billion for the first time in 2021, an increase of nearly 50 percent compared to 2020, the Vietnam News Agency reported.
-- A tiger-shaped sculpture erected at a flower street in Vinh City of north-central Nghe An Province to mark the upcoming Lunar New Year, which is the Year of the Tiger, has been recalled after local people criticized that its bizarre design.
-- “A teary-eyed Rafa Nadal felt his tennis career was ‘alive’ again after Friday’s victory over Italian Matteo Berrettini took him to the Australian Open final and left him one win away from a men's record 21st Grand Slam title,” Reuters reported.