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HEALTH

Will Switzerland introduce coronavirus testing at airports to cut quarantine?

Zurich Airport is considering following the lead of Germany and Austria in introducing rapid coronavirus tests which can cut quarantine times.

Will Switzerland introduce coronavirus testing at airports to cut quarantine?
A Swiss airline at Zurich Airport. Image: MICHAEL BUHOLZER / AFP

These tests have already been introduced at airports throughout Germany and Austria and have been successful in cutting quarantine times. 

In Germany and Austria, passengers who receive a negative test can enter the country. Late on Friday, Germany announced that testing would be free for all returnees

READ: How to get tested for coronavirus at Germany's airports 

Results are available within a few hours, although there have been concerns about the reliability of the tests. 

Zurich Airport has made coronavirus testing voluntarily available, but Swiss politicians have argued that the tests should be made compulsory. 

FDP National Councillor Matthias Jauslin argued that all returnees must be mandatorily tested, allowing them to return to work without quarantine as long as they test negative. 

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

SVP National Councillor Verena Herzog agreed, although she said it was of crucial importance that the tests were reliable. 

Jasmin Bodmer, a spokesperson for Zurich Airport, has said for now the tests – which cost CHF180 – will remain voluntary. 

“So far there has been no federal requirement for rapid corona tests.”

As it stands, even those who test negative at Zurich Airport are still required to complete a ten-day quarantine if they have returned from a high-risk country. 

Between 30 and 80 tests are carried out each day.

Editor's note: Please keep in mind that this article, as with all of our guides, are to provide assistance only. They are not intended to take the place of official legal advice. 

 

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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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