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World Economic Forum cancels 2021 meeting planned for Singapore

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Key Points
  • WEF said Monday the meeting will instead take place in the first half of 2022, with a final location and date determined later this year.
  • Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of WEF called it a difficult decision.
  • "Ultimately the health and safety of everyone concerned is our highest priority," he said in the statement.
A panel session on the closing day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020.
Bloomberg

The World Economic Forum said Monday that it has canceled a summer version of its annual meeting that was due to take place in Singapore.

"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," the organization said in a statement.

The event, which brings together politicians and business leaders from around the world, had already been rescheduled twice and had been moved to Singapore from its usual location of Davos, Switzerland. The summer event had been planned for the middle of August.

WEF said that the meeting will instead take place in the first half of 2022, with a final location and date to be determined later this year. Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of WEF called it a difficult decision.

"Ultimately the health and safety of everyone concerned is our highest priority," he said in the statement.

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Two other major events to be held in Singapore will continue as planned, organizers told CNBC. The Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual security summit scheduled for June 4 to 5, will go ahead as planned. Asia Tech x Singapore, co-organized by the Infocomm Media Development Authority, will also go on as scheduled in mid-July, organizers said.

Covid-19 cases in Singapore have climbed in the past few days. In a preliminary update on Monday, Singapore's health ministry said it confirmed an additional 21 locally transmitted infections, 11 of which were not linked to previous cases. That takes Singapore's cumulative Covid cases to more than 61,600 and 31 deaths, data by the health ministry showed.

More broadly, concerns have grown across the world over a new variant of the virus first discovered in India. Countries like the U.K., despite having a successful vaccination program, are carefully monitoring the data to see how transmissible the new strain is, and whether it will derail plans to fully reopen the economy.

—CNBC's Yen Nee Lee contributed to this article.