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HEALTH

Coronavirus: Police warn of ‘lockdown fatigue’ as Swiss start bending rules

Amid a decline in new infections and warm spring weather, police in Switzerland say they are already observing ‘lockdown fatigue’ among the population.

Coronavirus: Police warn of 'lockdown fatigue' as Swiss start bending rules
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The public’s adherence to the country’s strict lockdown rules was credited not only with a flattening of the infection curve, but was a major motivating factor in the decision to gradually relax the lockdown from April 27th. 

Coronavirus: Parents in Switzerland to face steep fines for keeping kids at home after lockdown

Swiss police however have expressed concern that a decline in new infections – as well as warm, sunny weather across Switzerland – has already seen the population start to bend the rules – increasing the risk of a second wave of infections. 

Observing the public’s behaviour over the weekend in the canton of Zurich – Switzerland’s largest – the police said it was becoming clear that the public’s desire to comply with the lockdown rules was waning. 

“According to police officers (across the canton), the population showed a certain amount of fatigue and were not consistently following the rules against coronavirus”. 

According to Swiss media outlet Watson, the police reported more than 152 incidents of non-compliance with social distancing rules which required intervention. 

In cantonal hotspots such as Josefswiese, Saffa Insel or at the Wipkingen an der Limmat, the police frequently needed to use loudspeaker warnings to disperse the crowds. 

 

 

Mario Fehr, a councillor in Zurich, said that the public should be commended for its adherence to the rules – but that they should not think that the battle had been won. 

“I thank the population for their behaviour and ask them to continue to consistently comply with the applicable measures,” he said.

“We all make an important contribution to easing the situation as quickly as possible.”

 

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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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