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HEALTH

Newly released figures show Switzerland is flattening the coronavirus curve

New coronavirus infections in Switzerland have reached their lowest levels in more than two months.

Newly released figures show Switzerland is flattening the coronavirus curve
Coronavirus testing in northern Italy. Photo: Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

On Tuesday, May 5th, there were a total of 28 new infections in Switzerland. It marks the first time that fewer than 50 new infections have been recorded in total across the country since March 5th, while it is the lowest daily total since March 4th. 

 

 

There were 76 infections recorded by the Federal Office of Public Health from Sunday to Monday, compared with 76 from Saturday to Sunday. 

In addition, new figures from the Swiss Federal Statistical Office have shown declining mortality in all but one region across the country. 

Looking at figures from late April, the Federal Stats Office compared usual mortality rates for over 65s to those this year. 

Given the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus and difficulties testing the deceased, this has been considered a helpful metric in determining the true impact of the virus – while also providing a base of comparison with other illnesses such as the seasonal flu. 

In Switzerland’s seven major regions, the death rates were within the annual projections for this time of year in all but two: the Lake Geneva and Ticino regions. 

Although the rates were higher than the yearly average in these two regions, the data showed they were decreasing. 

Experts have greeted the news as a sign the country’s lockdown measures have been working, although they have indicated the country must proceed with caution in winding back lockdown restrictions. 

READ: Experts warn of second coronavirus wave in Switzerland

International Hand Washing Day

Tuesday was also International Hand Washing Day, with FOPH spokesman Daniel Koch releasing a video in English while challenging several others to follow suit. 

 

 

Alongside Health Minister Alain Berset, Koch has been at the forefront of Switzerland’s daily press briefings on the battle against the coronavirus. 

 

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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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