The World Economic Forum cancelled its annual meeting, which was scheduled to take place in Singapore this August, due to uncertainties surrounding the continuing spread of the Covid-19 virus around the world.
“Regretfully, the tragic circumstances unfolding across geographies, an uncertain travel outlook, differing speeds of vaccination rollout and the uncertainty around new variants combine to make it impossible to realize a global meeting with business, government and civil society leaders from all over the world at the scale which was planned,” the WEF said in a statement on its website late Monday. “This is despite the excellent support provided by the government of Singapore.”
The decision came as Singapore battled to stem the increasing number of unlinked or untraceable Covid-19 infections in the city-state. The government implemented more stringent social distancing measures over the weekend and delayed the launch of a much-anticipated air travel bubble with Hong Kong for a second time.
Singapore had been managing the Covid-19 situation better than most countries until infections spiked this month. The government reported 21 new community cases on Monday, 11 of whom are unlinked to previous cases.
WEF said its next annual meeting will instead be held in the first half of 2020. The final location and date of the event will be determined later this year, it said.
“It was a difficult decision, particularly in view of the great interest of our partners to come together not just virtually but in person, and to contribute to a more resilient, more inclusive and more sustainable world,” said Professor Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. “But ultimately the health and safety of everyone concerned is our highest priority.”
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The WEF’s annual meeting, which gathers top public and private sector leaders to address pressing global issue, is usually held in Davos, Switzerland at the beginning of the year. In December, organizers decided to postpone and relocate the event to Singapore this year as the Covid-19 virus ravaged across Europe.
“We will continue to engage our increasing number of partners into our numerous work streams addressing the key issues on the global agenda through public private cooperation,” WEF said.