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HEALTH

UPDATE: Switzerland confirms nine coronavirus cases

The number of Coronavirus cases, or Covid-19, continued to rise slowly in Switzerland on Friday, with the total number of infected patients reaching nine.

UPDATE: Switzerland confirms nine coronavirus cases
Testing is underway for more cases of coronavirus. Photo by JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP

So far, nine infections with the new coronavirus have been confirmed in Switzerland. One case each have been reported in the cantons of Ticino, Zurich, Geneva, Vaud and Aargau.

The cantons of Basel and Grisons (Graubünden) each reported two infected people.

The newly declared cases include a cross-border worker from France who is employed in Vaud, and a Basel daycare worker who became ill after a trip to Milan.

The children who were in her care at the daycare center will now be quarantined for 14 days.

According to The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), eight of the people who had tested positive so far have been infected in Italy in the past few weeks. 

“All patients are being treated in hospital in an isolation unit. Their health condition is good”, health authorities said.

FOPH has launched an information campaign on how people can protect themselves and others against Covid-19.


In total over 500 people had been tested for coronavirus in Switzerland so far but were confirmed negative. Additionally, 130 suspected cases are being tested currently, FOPH said.

The fear over the spread of coronavirus has prompted many residents to stock up on basic necessities.

Some grocery stores are experiencing shortage of canned goods, eggs, cheese, and baby food, TagesAnzeiger reported on Thursday.

Migros, Switzerland’s largest supermarket chain, even set up a ‘crisis unit’ to ensure that enough provisions are available at all times. 

Increasing numbers of panicked consumers are also buying emergency ration kits online. The kits include canned and other non-perishable food.

“Currently, we have 20 times more requests than usual. We’ve never had so many orders at once. We are literally overwhelmed”, Reto Schätti managing director of the supplier Sichersatt told Blick newspaper.

READ MORE: Chocolate, painkillers and cheese: The emergency pack everyone in Switzerland should have

Covid-19 is also taking a toll on major exhibitions and other events in Switzerland. 

Geneva International Motor Show, one of the largest international exhibits of this kind, which was scheduled to begin on March 5th, was canceled on Friday morning, incurring losses estimated at hundreds of millions of francs. 

Organisers of Geneva's international expo of fine watches said Thursday they had decided to cancel the April event because of the spread of the new coronavirus. 

“In view of the latest developments concerning the worldwide spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus… the decision has been taken to cancel the upcoming edition of Watches and Wonders Geneva”, said the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie.

Earlier this month, Swatch canceled its Zurich trade show over coronavirus fears and the International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva had been postponed until September.

 

READ MORE: No handshakes and cancelled business trips: How Swiss companies are reacting to coronavirus

 

 

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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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