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HEALTH

Americans visiting Switzerland subject to ten-day quarantine

Visitors from the United States, as well as 28 other countries, will need to complete a ten-day quarantine when arriving in Switzerland.

Americans visiting Switzerland subject to ten-day quarantine
A Swiss plane on the tarmac in Geneva. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Note: This story is now out of date. Please click here for up to date information. 

Switzerland will put in place a quarantine on arrivals from so-called high-risk countries. This is what you need to know. 

Late on Thursday, the official list of high-risk countries was released. Some of the more notable countries include Sweden, Serbia, Kosovo, the United States, Israel and Russia. 

See below for the full list.
 
For third countries, the quarantine is set to start on July 20th, before which people from these countries are unable to enter. 

Why a quarantine requirement? 

The quarantine requirement will be imposed due to increases in new infections. 

“Since mid-June, the new coronavirus has experienced an upsurge in Switzerland after infected people entered the country from Schengen and non-Schengen states” beyond Europe's open borders zone, said the government.

“Consequently, from July 6, anyone crossing the border from certain regions must quarantine themselves for 10 days,” the Federal Council said.

A guard at the border between France and Switzerland. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Which countries are on the list? 

The full list is: Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Chile, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Iraq, Israel, Qatar, Colombia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Moldova, North Macedonia, Oman, Panama, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Serbia, South Africa, Turks and Caicos Islands and the United States.

Affected people will be informed on planes, coaches and at the borders, and must register with the local authorities once in Switzerland.

Anyone who appears to be sick must not be allowed to board buses, trains or flights to Switzerland. 

Which countries or regions are considered 'high risk'?

In a statement, the government said “as of Monday, July 6, anyone crossing the border from certain regions must quarantine themselves for ten days. The Federal Office of Public Health maintains a list of the regions in question, which it updates regularly.”

The Swiss health authorities promised that it would regularly update the list and that it would look to keep abreast of the situation in countries regarding infections and outbreaks. 

READ: Masks to be compulsory in Swiss public transport from Monday

Who else can enter Switzerland? 

As it currently stands, only arrivals from EU or EFTA states will be allowed to enter. 

While the EU wound this back for certain countries from July 1st, Switzerland is set to follow suit on July 20th. 

The countries which will be allowed entry from July 20th are expected to include “Algeria, Australia, Canada, South Korea, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay as well as the EU states not belonging to the Schengen area (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Ireland and Romania)”. 

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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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