Health and safety concerns resulting from Covid-19 and its Omicron variant has prompted the annual January gathering of world leaders, billionaires, and executives in Davos, Switzerland to be postponed.
“The World Economic Forum will defer its Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, in the light of continued uncertainty over the Omicron outbreak,” the group said in a release Monday. “It is now planned for early summer.”
The event which was to be physically attended by delegates was scheduled from Jan. 17 to Jan. 21 with the aim of addressing “economic, environmental, political and social fault-lines exacerbated by the pandemic.”
Instead of a physical meeting, an online series of “State of the World” meeting will be held, “to focus on shaping solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges,” organizers said.
The World Economic Forum stated coronavirus pandemic conditions made holding a global in-person gathering next month “very problematic,” and that the transmissibility of the omicron Covid-19 form, as well as its impact on travel and mobility, necessitated the postponement.
The annual Davos meeting, recognised as a cornerstone of international relations, attracts heads of state, business leaders, and campaigners from all over the world to address the world’s most urgent issues in a magnificent Alpine ski resort.
The World Economic Forum has cancelled a summer edition of its gathering scheduled for August in Singapore.
Earlier this year, a virtual conference was organised.
“Current pandemic conditions make it extremely difficult to deliver a global in-person meeting. Preparations have been guided by expert advice and have benefited from the close collaboration of the Swiss government at all levels. Despite the meeting’s stringent health protocols, the transmissibility of Omicron and its impact on travel and mobility have made deferral necessary,” said WEF in a statement.
“The deferral of the Annual Meeting will not prevent progress through continued digital convening of leaders from business, government and civil society,” said Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. “Public-private cooperation has moved forward throughout the pandemic and that will continue apace. We look forward to bringing global leaders together in person soon.”
(Adapted from Bloomberg,com)