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Asia Minute

Asia Minute: Government and Business Leaders Trade Davos for Singapore

Photo/Markus Schreiber, File
FILE - In this Jan. 19, 2020 file photo, man silhouettes in front of the logo of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

One of the world’s top gatherings of business and government leaders is moving from Europe to Asia. It’s a temporary shift, and the reason is safety.

It’s a meeting often referred to simply by the name of its location: Davos.

That Swiss ski resort has been home to the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum since its founding in the 1970’s. Except when it met in New York after the 9/11 attacks, the group has always gathered in Davos.

But next year, organizers are trading the frosty environs of Switzerland in January for the warmer climates of Singapore in May.

The motivation: health and safety.

Singapore has done relatively well when it comes to controlling the spread of the coronavirus.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry says these meetings will be informed by some other recent gatherings in the country.

At October’s International Energy Week, attendees needed a negative COVID test and constant masking to get in the door and stay there. It also included “social distancing ambassadors” who spent time enforcing rules not only on distancing and mask-wearing, but also on the size of groups at tables and even standing around together.

Organizers say the meeting next May will be “the first global leadership event to address worldwide recovery from the pandemic.”

World Economic Forum Founder Klaus Schwab said “public-private cooperation is needed more than ever to rebuild trust and address the fault lines that emerged in 2020.”

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