How Switzerland’s airports are stepping up the fight against coronavirus

From liberal use of disinfectant to harnessing the power of UV light, Switzerland’s airports are pulling out all the stops to minimise the spread of coronavirus.

How Switzerland’s airports are stepping up the fight against coronavirus
A person stands next to a social distancing sign on the floor at the Geneva airport. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Although it has rebounded slightly since international travel restrictions were relaxed on June 15th, Switzerland’s airports remain absent of their usual hustle and bustle

In order to reassure passengers that travel is safe, Zurich airport has installed disinfectant stations throughout its terminals, while also launching a ‘cleaning robot’. 

In addition, all of the airports escalators will be equipped with ultraviolet light systems to disinfect handrails.

READ: ‘Anyone could be quarantined': Switzerland repeats advice not to travel abroad 

The lamps eliminate bacteria and viruses immediately, but are installed under the escalators to ensure no contact with humans. 

Geneva airport has said it is considering adopting a similar system, while Basel airport rejected the devices in favour of manual cleaning. 

The lamps have already been installed throughout train stations in Germany. 

In mid-May, passenger traffic at Zurich airport had decreased by 99 percent, the lowest levels of airport passenger traffic since 1952. 

Of those passengers, an estimated nine out of every ten were flying within Switzerland


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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.