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HEALTH

Switzerland monitoring mobile phone data to determine further lockdowns: Report

Swiss authorities are using mobile phone data to determine whether more stringent lockdowns need to be put in place.

Switzerland monitoring mobile phone data to determine further lockdowns: Report
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The Tages Anzeiger reported late on Monday night that further lockdowns remain on the table in Switzerland – with the major deciding factor being whether or not existing restrictions are being followed. 

As reported, phone data is being tracked to see if people are staying home and choosing not to congregate in groups. If the measures aren’t being followed, more extreme restrictions are set to be implemented by the government at a press conference to take place later on Monday. 

On Friday, March 20th, the Swiss government put in place sweeping new restrictions, calling upon people to stay home and banning groups of more than five under the threat of a CHF100 punishment. 

'Help is coming': What you need to know about Switzerland's new emergency coronavirus measures 

The government did however stop short of putting in a curfew, with Swiss Interior Minister Alain Berset saying the government wanted to “avoid a political show”. 

More extreme measures?

According to the Tages Anzeiger, the more extreme measures will be implemented in two steps. 

The first is to impose a curfew from 6pm each day, requiring everyone to stay in their homes unless leaving with a valid excuse such as shopping or visiting a medical facility. 

The government will then continue to monitor mobile phone metadata to determine whether this is being complied with. If not, a complete curfew similar to that seen in Italy and France being a potential further step. 

A number of other countries have used mobile phone data – whether consensually or not – to track the movement of citizens in order to see whether coronavirus curfews are being maintained. 

 

 

 

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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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