JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South African president and African Union chairman Cyril Ramaphosa has called on richer nations to release surplus vaccine doses to the rest of the world. Delivering an address to the virtual World Economic Forum dialogue, Ramaphosa highlighted the African Union’s efforts to secure vaccines for African nations and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the continent. According to Ramaphosa, some countries have acquired more doses than they need to vaccinate their populations. He said he is deeply concerned about the problem of vaccine nationalism, which, unless addressed, he warned will endanger the recovery of all countries.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea has reported 599 new coronavirus cases, the highest in 10 days, as health workers scramble to slow infections at religious facilities, which have been a major source throughout the pandemic. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency says 112 of the new cases came from the southwestern city of Gwangju, where more than 100 have so far been linked to a missionary training school. An affiliated facility in the central city of Daejeon has been linked to more than 170 infections. The Seoul metropolitan area reported nearly 300 cases. South Korea has repeatedly seen big clusters emerge from religious groups, including more than 5,000 linked to the secretive Shincheonji Church of Jesus that drove a major outbreak last spring.
TORONTO (AP) — Canada’s most populous province of Ontario will reopen all schools for in-class learning this month despite the presence of new coronavirus variants and a high number of infections in Toronto and its suburbs. The majority of schools will reopen Monday while those in Toronto and its suburbs will resume in-person learning on Feb 16. There are no plans to vaccinate teachers. Education Minister Stephen Lecce said returning kids to school safely is crucial for their development and mental health.
ISTANBUL (AP) — A Turkish court has again rejected a request for businessman and human rights defender Osman Kavala’s release from jail, despite a European Court of Human Rights ruling that called for his freedom. On Friday, the court in Istanbul also ruled to merge two proceedings against Kavala. The 63-year-old was on trial accused of espionage and attempting to overthrow the government in connection with a failed coup in 2016. Last year, he was acquitted of terrorism-related charges for allegedly organizing and financing mass anti-government protests that erupted in 2013. But a higher court later overturned the acquittal, paving the way for a re-trial. He will now be tried in connection with the failed coup and the mass protests.