Covid-19 forces Davos forum to move to Singapore

A skyline of Singapore
Singapore is a long way from the snow-capped peaks of the Swiss Alps

The World Economic Forum, which usually hosts a glitzy annual meeting for political and business leaders in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, has moved next year’s event to Singapore. The forum says it’s making the change to safeguard health and safety.

“In light of the current situation with regards to Covid-19 cases, it was decided that Singapore was best placed to hold the meeting,” it said. Singapore has largely been seen as managing the crisis successfully. It’s health ministry says there are currently 28 people being treated in hospital for the coronavirus, but none are in intensive care, and there are no cases in the community. Singapore’s death toll for Covid-19 stands at 29, but the country remains under “phase two” restrictions, which means gatherings are capped at five people and working from home is still the default for most companies.

Singapore’s Trade Minister Chan Chun Sing said the Forum’s decision to hold the meeting in the country was “an affirmation of Singapore’s ability to provide a safe, neutral and conducive venue for global leaders to meet”. Safety measures could include tests on arrival and contact tracing of attendees, the government said.

Davos breakfast
Breakfast panels are a staple of the Davos summit

The in-person World Economic Forum annual meeting is planned to take place in Singapore from 13-16 May, before returning to Switzerland in 2022. It will be only the second time the event has been held outside Davos in it’s history. In 2002, the forum was organised in New York to show solidarity with the US after the 9/11 terror attacks. Klaus Schwab, who founded the forum in the 1970s, said a global leadership summit would be crucial to address the global recovery from the pandemic. “Public-private co-operation is needed more than ever to rebuild trust and address the fault lines that emerged in 2020,” he said.

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