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HEALTH

‘No single outbreak’: How coronavirus entered Switzerland

Swiss researchers have found several diverse strains of Covid-19 in the community, showing that the virus must have been introduced into the country from a variety of sources.

‘No single outbreak’: How coronavirus entered Switzerland
A nurse with a serological test for Covid-19. Photo: MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

Swiss bio mathematician Tanja Stadler, who completed the study, found that the virus was imported to Switzerland from a variety of locations. 

The researchers collected 1000 DNA samples from positive coronavirus tests, with the number eventually whittled down to 120 samples – many of which had diverse genome sequences. 

‘No single Swiss outbreak’

Studies into samples from coronavirus-infected patients has shown that there were several outbreaks of the virus in Switzerland, i.e. that it did not come primarily from one source. 

In an online lecture on Tuesday, Sadler said “there was no single Swiss outbreak”. 

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“The viruses were imported into Switzerland from a wide variety of locations – and there is also no evidence of infections in individual cantons.”

The study looked at the genome sequences of the samples of the virus, finding there was a significant amount of diversity. 

The testing process has been done as a part of the Next Strain project, which looks to assess the evolution of Covid-19 in the population. 

In addition to understanding aspects of the spread of the virus, the project allows researchers to see how it has changed and evolved over time – for example to become more infectious. 

The research also indicates that the virus is likely to have been circulating in Switzerland for days or even weeks before the first case was detected in the southern canton of Ticino on February 25th. 

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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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