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HEALTH

Explained: What are Geneva’s new lockdown restrictions?

Geneva, the Swiss canton hit hardest by the pandemic, has tightened several lockdown restrictions.

Explained: What are Geneva's new lockdown restrictions?

The Geneva Council of State unveiled several new restrictions on Monday. 

The compulsory collection of personal data in restaurants and at private events will start from August 18th.

Nightclubs will remain closed until September 10th at the earliest.

Authorised public demonstrations that are currently limited to 1,000 people can continue to be organised, but only if health and safety measures are implemented and followed.

EXPLAINED: Why is Geneva Switzerland's coronavirus ‘hotspot'? 

In addition, the sub-groups — clearly defined areas during an event — will only be able to accommodate 100 people instead of the current 300, to improve traceability.

And apart from the requirement to wear masks on public transport, as is mandatory in all of Switzerland, masks are also compulsory in shops and at the Geneva international airport.

What is the current situation in Geneva?

In the past two weeks, 99 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants have been confirmed in Geneva. This number exceeds the limit of 60 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days, set by the Federal Council as criteria for putting other nations on its list of ‘high-risk’ countries. 

 

“If Geneva were a country, it would have to be put it on the quarantine list, ” said Nicola Low, epidemiologist at the University of Bern.

“We are concerned about what we are seeing here at the epidemiological level,” Geneva’s cantonal doctor Aglaé Tardin said in an interview with Tribune de Genève. 

“Beyond the significant increase in cases, the profile of patients is also changing,” she pointed out.

For instance, at the height of the pandemic between April and May, people of all ages contracted the virus. However, only the oldest ones were hospitalised or died.

But in June and July, Geneva health officials observed that the virus mainly affected the population between the ages of 20 and 49 — that is, people who go out at night and lead an active social life.

“What worries us today is that we are no longer able to protect populations at risk,” Tardin said.

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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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