World Economic Forum meeting in Singapore in August called off

·Editorial Team
·2-min read
A woman walks between rows of taped up tables at a food centre as dining-in is restricted to curb the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Singapore May 17, 2021.   REUTERS/Edgar Su
A woman walks between rows of taped up tables at a food centre as dining-in is restricted to curb the coronavirus disease outbreak in Singapore on 17 May, 2021. (PHOTO: Reuters)

SINGAPORE — The World Economic Forum's (WEF) annual meeting in Singapore in August has been called off.

Instead, the next meeting will take place in the first half of 2022, with the location and date to be determined based on an assessment of the situation later this summer, according to a media advisory posted on the WEF's website on Monday (17 May).

"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 realise a global meeting with business, government and civil society leaders from all over the world at the scale which was planned," said the WEF.

"This is despite the excellent support provided by the government of Singapore."

Calling it a "difficult decision", WEF founder and executive chairman Professor Klaus Schwab stressed that "ultimately the health and safety of everyone concerned is our highest priority”.

"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," said the WEF.

The WEF’s marquee event, typically held in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, was originally scheduled for 17 to 20 August in Singapore. The event was to be held with less than the usual 3,000 participants.

In response to media queries, the Ministry of Trade and Industry on Monday said, "The Singapore government fully appreciates the challenges caused by the ongoing global pandemic, particularly for a large meeting with a broad span of international participants."

It added, "We will continue to work actively with the World Economic Forum and other key international organisations to promote collaborations between stakeholders on issues of global concern."

This comes as authorities in Singapore ramp up social distancing measures, starting from Sunday through to 13 June, as part of the "Phase 2 (Heightened Alert)" curbs. These include a ban on dining-in at all food and beverage establishments, including hawker centres and food courts and limiting social gatherings to two persons.

The Ministry of Health on Monday said that the number of new COVID-19 cases in the community has increased from 32 in the week before to 149 in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from seven in the week before to 42 in the past week.

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