Healthcare

Davos Economic Forum postponed amid omicron concerns

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The Davos Economic Forum, which was set to take place next month, will be postponed until the summer because of concerns over the COVID-19 omicron outbreak.

The World Economic Forum announced on Monday that the annual forum in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, is now planned for early summer.

“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 statement.

The organization said that the current state of the pandemic has made it “extremely difficult to deliver a global in-person meeting.” It said its plans have been driven by expert advice benefitted by close collaboration with the Swiss government.

“Despite the meeting’s stringent health protocols, the transmissibility of Omicron and its impact on travel and mobility have made deferral necessary,” the group added.

The postponement comes as the omicron variant is spreading rapidly across the globe. The World Health Organization revealed on Saturday that the variant, which was first identified in South Africa, has been detected in 89 countries.

Cases are spiking worldwide as health experts work to determine the severity and transmissibility of the new strain, and discern how well existing vaccines protect against the variant.

The World Economic Forum earlier this year canceled a meeting in Singapore that was scheduled for August. The gathering was initially postponed from January.

Bloomberg reported in November that President Biden was planning to skip the Davos meeting, citing two people familiar with the matter. He had reportedly planned to send administration officials to take part in the meetings.

Professor Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, said postponing the meeting “will not prevent progress through continued digital convening of leaders from business, government and civil society.”

“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,” he added in a statement.

Tags Davos Joe Biden Omicron variant World Economic Forum
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