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HEALTH

UPDATED: Switzerland confirms first case of coronavirus

Switzerland reported its first case of new coronavirus on Tuesday, after outbreaks were identified in its main neighbours Austria, France, Germany and Italy.

UPDATED: Switzerland confirms first case of coronavirus
(Illustration) A hospital in Geneva. The first case of coronavirus was detected in southern Switzerland. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The case is a man in his 70s who was infected near Milan where he attended an event on February 15, federal health office chief Pascal Strupler told reporters. 

The man is from the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino on the border with Italy and has been with his family since suffering the first symptoms on February 17. 

READ: What is Switzerland doing to prevent coronavirus spreading from Italy?

He is now in isolation in a hospital and anyone who has come into contact with him since his return from Milan will be tested and placed in quarantine for 14 days. 

“His state of health is good,” the health office said in a statement, adding that the risk of contagion for Switzerland as a whole remained only “moderate”. 

But it also said that, because of the proximity to Italy, “the probability is growing that other cases will be diagnosed”. 

Prior to this case, Switzerland had tested some 300 suspect cases that were all found to be negative. 

The government said on Monday that it had stepped up testing on patients with flu-like symptoms and was working to raise awareness at all border points.

Switzerland on Monday had said the country was in a state of “heightened vigilance” because of a surge in Italy.

Prior to this case, the country had tested some 300 suspect cases that were all found to be negative.

The government said on Monday that it had stepped up testing on patients with flu-like symptoms and was working to raise awareness at all border points.

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TAXES

Masks, tests and jabs: Can I deduct Covid-related costs from my taxes in Switzerland?

Switzerland’s tax deadline is just around the corner. Are Covid-related costs tax deductible?

Masks, tests and jabs: Can I deduct Covid-related costs from my taxes in Switzerland?

March 31st is the deadline for filing taxes in Switzerland relating to the 2021 financial year. 

Over the past two years, the Covid pandemic has seen a change in our spending habits. 

While we may have saved on restaurants and travel, we laid out considerable costs on a range of new expenses, including disinfectant, masks and Covid tests. 

As some of these costs are required by law, can they be deducted from your tax?

In some cases, expenses directly related to the Covid pandemic can be deducted. 

Masks, for instance, can be deducted as medical expenses in some cantons, Swiss tax specialist Markus Stoll told 20 Minutes

This depends on the specific framework for tax deductions related to medical expenses in that canton. 

EXPLAINED: What can I deduct from my tax bill in Switzerland?

Generally speaking, any medical costs paid out of pocket can be deducted. However, most cantons impose a minimum percentage limit from which these costs can be deducted. 

In many cantons, this will start at five percent of your yearly income in total (i.e. including other out-of-pocket costs like dental or specialist visits), meaning you would need to purchase a significant amount of masks to beat the threshold. 

What about testing and vaccination?

Testing and vaccinations however were largely free as their costs were covered by the Swiss government, which means associated expenses cannot be deducted. 

Those tests which were not covered by the government – for instance for travel abroad or for visiting clubs – cannot be deducted, Stoll says. 

“Tests for travel abroad or to visit clubs are not deductible” Stoll said. 

For a complete overview of taxation in Switzerland, including several specific guides, please check out our tax-specific page here. 

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