GENEVA (AP) — The World Economic Forum is again delaying its much-ballyhooed annual meeting of world leaders, business executives and other elites in Davos, Switzerland, amid new uncertainties about the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The forum, which repeatedly delayed, moved and finally canceled last year’s event, says the previously planned Jan. 17-21 gathering in the alpine town will now take place in “early summer” — without giving specifics.
“Current pandemic conditions make it extremely difficult to deliver a global in-person meeting,” the forum said in a statement. “Preparations have been guided by expert advice and have benefited from the close collaboration of the Swiss government at all levels.”
The decision comes as some countries in Europe impose new restrictions or face tough choices about what to do about rising numbers of COVID-19 infections tied to omicron. Switzerland on Friday announced requirements to show proof of vaccination or COVID-19 recovery to go to restaurants and indoor events amid a spike in infections in recent weeks, largely of the delta variant.
The World Economic Forum still plans to host a “digital convening of leaders from business, government and civil society,” founder Klaus Schwab said. The forum said a “headline series of State of the World sessions” would bring them together online to address global challenges.
The media-friendly Davos confab serves as a global stage for world leaders to meet and executives to talk possible deals. Academics and chiefs of nongovernmental groups speak out in webcast panel sessions or comb corridors looking to rub elbows with decision-makers.