Further quarantine measures on hold as mobile data confirms discipline of Swiss population

After monitoring mobile phone data looking at how closely residents of Switzerland were complying with existing coronavirus measures, the Swiss government has decided to hold off on putting in place more stringent restrictions - however the question of a complete curfew remains on the table.

Further quarantine measures on hold as mobile data confirms discipline of Swiss population

On Friday March 20th, the Swiss government put in place a range of new measures and restrictions in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus and its economic impacts. 

READ: What you need to know about Switzerland's coronavirus testing regime

Most significant of these was a requirement that Swiss residents do not congregate in groups of more than five people. 

The Swiss government has been monitoring mobile phone data in order to see whether the population is complying with coronavirus restrictions – or whether more severe measures should be put in place. 

As reported by The Local Switzerland on March 24th, the government had considered whether or not to put in place additional curfews which would start with a lockdown after 6pm at night, eventually extending to a 24-hour lockdown similar to that seen in Italy or Spain. 

However, speaking at a press conference on Thursday, March 26th, the head of Communicable Diseases at the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) Daniel Koch indicated that the existing measures would remain in place for now. 

Koch also allayed concerns about the collection of the data, saying it was “not surveillance” and it was instead used anonymously and was only being used to determine adherence with the restrictive coronavirus measures. 

“We are purely looking at representations of mobility in public space”. 

On Wednesday, Swiss Interior Minister Alain Berset said the Swiss public “should not be afraid of surveillance”, saying it was only used to make sure people were not breaking the rules once outside. 

Berset indicated that mobile data would continue to be used to determine whether the public continued to comply with the requirements. 

“The most important thing is that it stays that way.”

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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.