The annual meeting of elite business leaders and politicians known as the World Economic Forum has been postponed due to the Covid-19 omicron variant.

“Despite the meeting’s stringent health protocols, the transmissibility of Omicron and its impact on travel and mobility have made deferral necessary,” said the WEF in a statement.

The meeting was meant to take place in Davos, Switzerland from January 17-21. Now, it has been rescheduled for an undetermined date in “early summer” 2022. This is the second year in a row that Covid-19 has interfered with the conference. Last year, the forum was moved from Switzerland for the first time, due to Covid concerns. Organizers then planned for it to occur in Singapore that August, but ultimately it was canceled altogether instead.

The controversial forum, which has been criticized for being elitist, was founded in 1971. It states that it aims to “improve the state of the world” through gathering leaders in political, business, academic and philanthropic spheres. The event has served as the backdrop for many historic moments, with figures from Nelson Mandela to Donald Trump.

Since its inception, the WEF has been held annually at the Alpine ski resort of Davos. During this time, the remote town’s population grows from 10,000 to 30,000. However, this year, organizers have planned for a virtual replacement.

“The deferral of the annual meeting will not prevent progress through continued digital convening of leaders from business, government and civil society,” said Prof. Klaus Schwab, the forum’s founder and executive chairman.

The participants will now take part in a series of “State of the World” sessions online. “Public-private cooperation has moved forward throughout the pandemic and that will continue apace,” Schwab said.

Switzerland has recently increased its Covid restrictions, including imposing a mandatory order to work from home, due to the increased threat of the omicron variant through Europe.

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