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HEALTH

Blood study shows five percent of Genevans have contracted coronavirus

Five percent of Geneva residents - approximately 27,000 people - have contracted the coronavirus, according to an antibody study which shows that the virus is much more widespread than previously thought.

Blood study shows five percent of Genevans have contracted coronavirus
A bench in Geneva. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The test shows that 5.5 percent – or just over one in 20 – residents have been infected with Covid-19. 

The number is more than five times higher than the 4,700 confirmed infections as per cantonal authorities. 

Official figures suggest that approximately 28,000 people in the entire country have been infected, giving rise to speculation that the real number of infected Swiss is much higher. 

READ MORE: What is the real count of coronavirus infections in Switzerland? 

The study began on April 6th and will continue to the end of May, eventually testing 5,600 people. 

The researchers have a capacity to test approximately 200 people per hour to see if they have previously been infected with Covid-19. 

The goal of the study is to get an insight into how widely the virus has spread throughout the population, thereby producing valuable data as to the true mortality rate of the virus as well as strategies for developing so-called herd immunity among the population. 

The official infection numbers of a variety of countries have been cast in significant doubt, as countries with deficient testing regimes will not be able to properly identify how many cases actually exist in the population. 

Official figures are also heavily reliant on accurate government reporting, which can be subject to political influence. 

For instance, recent studies have indicated that the actual infection count in China, where the outbreak began, is four times higher than currently reported. 

 

 

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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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