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HEALTH

Swiss authorities put onus on young to prevent coronavirus spread

Swiss public health authorities have said the onus is on younger people to prevent spreading the virus to older, more vulnerable members of the population.

Swiss authorities put onus on young to prevent coronavirus spread
Photo: Loic VENANCE / AFP

During a press conference on Wednesday, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) highlighted that people over the age of 65 are most at risk from the virus. 

Daniel Koch, head of communicable diseases at FOPH, said that younger people – many of whom only feel lightly ill from the virus – need to “change the way they view the virus”. 

While younger people are much more likely to spread the virus as they are more mobile and travel more often, it is older people who are at the greatest risk. 

On Thursday morning, a 74-year-old woman in Vaud became the first person to die of the virus in Switzerland

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15 percent chance of death for those over 80

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that 3.4 percent of the population worldwide have died from the virus, however the probability of death increases dramatically for people as they age. 

For people under 50, the rate is less than 0.5 percent. Between 60 and 69 around four percent die of the virus. 

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That amount increases to 15 percent for people over 80 years of age. 

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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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