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World Economic Forum’s annual Davos summit put on hold due to omicron

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — The World Economic Forum announced Monday it has indefinitely postponed its upcoming summit in the Swiss resort town of Davos due to uncertainty caused by the omicron coronavirus variant.

The announcement makes the high-profile gathering of business leaders, politicians and more the latest event to be canceled or put on hold recently due to omicron’s spread. It also marks the second year in a row that the Davos summit was disrupted by the pandemic.

Event organizers said the annual meeting, which was scheduled to take place from Jan. 17-Jan. 21, is now planned for early summer, though specific dates were not yet released.

“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,” Adrian Monck, the managing director of public engagement at the World Economic Forum, said in a statement Monday. “Despite the meeting’s stringent health protocols, the transmissibility of Omicron and its impact on travel and mobility have made deferral necessary.”

Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, added in a statement that the postponement of 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,” Schwab said. “We look forward to bringing global leaders together in person soon.”

The delay of the in-person gathering comes amid a new surge of COVID-19 cases globally, propelled by the omicron and delta variants, that has upended many business leaders’ plans for a return to normalcy in the aftermath of a coronavirus vaccine rollout.

Nearly two years into the pandemic, the recent disruptions may be causing deja vu for some and serve as a harsh reminder the global health crisis is not over. A slew of major companies have again announced new delays in return-to-office plans and the omicron variant has been linked to the cancellations of Broadway productions to sports events in recent weeks.

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