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World Economic Forum shelves Davos meeting amid Covid concerns

World Economic Forum exterior at Davos, 2017 (Credit: mdic.gov.br/flickr)

The World Economic Forum has postponed its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, for a second year amid continued uncertainty over the Omicron outbreak.

The WEF’s flagship annual gathering, which has been drawing world leaders and business titans to the small mountain resort for the last 50 years, was scheduled to take place between 17 to 21 January.

However, the organisation said the meeting is now planned “for early next summer” after Covid scuppered plans once again.

“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,” Geneva-based WEF said in a statement.
 
”Despite the meeting’s stringent health protocols, the transmissibility of Omicron and its impact on travel and mobility have made deferral necessary,” it added.

The WEF generates its revenues through partnerships and memberships – which range from CHF60,000 to CHF600,000 depending on the level of engagement – the biggest attraction being participation at Davos.
 
The WEF already postponed last year’s edition several times, moving not only the date but also the location to Singapore, however, these plans were also dashed. It joins a swathe of other major annual gatherings that have been forced to reschedule or shift to a virtual format, as Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc.

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The WEF said participants will instead be invited to join an online series of sessions next month bringing together global leaders “to focus on shaping solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges”.