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Omicron forces WEF to postpone flagship event again

The World Economic Forum has been forced to roll up its plans once again. Keystone / Jean-christophe Bott

The Covid-19 pandemic has severely disrupted plans to hold the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) main annual meeting in Davos for a second year in a row.

On Monday, WEF said it would defer the gathering of influential global business and political heads from the planned date in January to an undefined time in early summer.

WEF organisers said the spread of the Omicron variant made it “extremely difficult to deliver a global in-person meeting” and had decided to defer the event following advice from the Swiss authorities.

The flagship meeting, which regularly assembles 3,000 decision-makers from politics, business, civil society and culture, was cancelledExternal link last year after plans to move it to SingaporeExternal link proved unworkable.

In September, WEF announced that the annual meeting would return to its traditional home of DavosExternal link from January 17-21. But the subsequent spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant has put paid to these plans.

WEF has not given a precise date or location for moving the event this year.

“The deferral of the Annual Meeting will not prevent progress through continued digital convening of leaders from business, government and civil society,” said WEF founder Klaus Schwab in a statementExternal link. “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.”

The move will again be a blow to the Swiss Alpine resort of Davos that relies on the annual gathering each year to boost its economy.

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