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HEALTH

Deaths in Switzerland’s nursing homes account for more than half coronavirus death toll

The coronavirus has taken a particularly heavy toll on older people in Switzerland, with more than half of those dead from the virus being residents of nursing homes.

Research by the Tages-Anzieger newspaper shows that a total of 53 percent of the country’s 1891 deaths have come out of nursing homes.

The figure is even higher in some cantons. In Zurich, 81 of the total 127 deaths were nursing home residents – 64 percent. 

What we know about the victims of the coronavirus pandemic in Switzerland 

The researchers note that the actual figures area likely to be even higher as only three cantons provide data on where a person was living at their time of death.

This means that anyone who was transferred to a hospital would not be counted in official figures, compared to people who died actually in a nursing home. 

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

The number of deaths in nursing homes is roughly similar to that in Sweden, where the country has put in place only comparatively minimal lockdown rules. 

Coronavirus: What went wrong in Sweden's care homes?

The figures from the study come from just 18 of the country’s 26 cantons, however these account for 94 percent of Switzerland’s total coronavirus deaths. 

 

 

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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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