The World Economic Forum (WEF) has cancelled its Special Annual Meeting in Singapore, due to take place in August, amid a spike in local community cases of Covid-19 in the Lion City, and “uncertainty around new variants”.
In a statement, WEF cited an uncertain travel outlook and “differing speeds of vaccination rollout” among factors that “make it impossible to realise a global meeting at such scale,” despite support provided by the Singapore Government.
“It was a difficult decision, particularly in view of the great interest of our partners to come together not just virtually but in person, and to contribute to a more resilient, more inclusive and more sustainable world,” said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of WEF. “But ultimately the health and safety of everyone concerned is our highest priority.”
The news comes amid yet another delay in the proposed Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble, which was set to launch next week, on 26 May.
However, a glimmer of hope remains as the high-profile Shangri-La Dialogue scheduled in early June will proceed as planned.
The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), which organises the security summit, said in a statement: “The World Economic Forum’s decision does not affect our plans. We have a full line-up of ministers and other senior leaders from around the world planning to attend our event.
“We will continue to work with our partners in Singapore's government to strengthen the already stringent safety measures we have in place, and make any necessary adjustments to protect both our attendees and the local community."
The Global Esports Federation also looks likely to continue with plans to host its inaugural Global Esports Games in Singapore in December 2021. The event will see more than 400 international esports athletes from more than 80 countries and territories compete in the multi-titled world championship.
As well as competitions, the event will include GEFcon, a global convention of thought leaders; and GEFestival, a celebration of esports and youth culture.
Meanwhile, the next WEF Annual Meeting will take place in the first half of 2022, with a location and date yet to be the determined.