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HEALTH

Coronavirus in Switzerland: Half of Ticino fatalities come from nursing homes

New figures have shown the devastating impact of the coronavirus on elderly people in the southern Swiss canton of Ticino.

Coronavirus in Switzerland: Half of Ticino fatalities come from nursing homes
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Just under half of those who have died in the canton were residents of the canton’s nursing homes, a new report has shown. 

As at Friday evening, a total of 299* people had died in the canton as a result of the coronavirus. Of that number, 136 lived in retirement homes and or old age care facilities.

UPDATE: What you need to know about the coronavirus crisis in Switzerland 

The figures were confirmed by cantonal doctor Giorgio Merlani late on Friday evening. 

Of the cantons 68 aged care facilities, 29 have had confirmed cases of Covid-19. 

Ticino health director Raffaele De Rosa said the cantonal health authorities were investigating why the infection rates – and death tolls – were so high in the region’s retirement homes. 

Widespread testing in the canton’s retirement facilities showed that 441 of all retirement home residents had been tested positive, 361 negative. 

Authorities believe that most of the transmissions took place in the shared living facilities in the retirement homes. 

Ticino was one of the first regions anywhere in Europe to restrict nursing home visits. 

*Note: As at Saturday afternoon, the total has risen to 304 fatalities in the canton – an increase of five since Friday – however figures are not available to show how many of these additional deaths have taken place in nursing homes. 

 

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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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