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HEALTH

‘Corona is under control’: Swiss government disputes claims of second coronavirus wave

Switzerland’s Health Minister has disputed assertions that the country is on the cusp of a second wave of the virus, despite rising infection rates.

‘Corona is under control’: Swiss government disputes claims of second coronavirus wave
Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Speaking after a meeting between the federal government and the cantons on Thursday afternoon, Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset told the media “the corona situation is under control”. 

“The contact tracing in the cantons works”. 

The statement comes after Switzerland reported more than 300 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday. 

This marked the first time more than 300 infections were recorded since mid-April. A further 266 infections were recorded on Thursday. 

‘Under control: No new wave’

Marcel Tanner, from the Federal Office of Public Health, told Swiss media outlet Watson that the figures were not concerning as they came from across Switzerland – rather than in one cantonal cluster. 

“It doesn't matter whether 299 or 311. It is not about a precise upper limit. The decisive factor is how the new infections are distributed in the country,” Tanner said, 

Explained: What's the difference between Switzerland's two lists of high-risk Covid-19 countries

“If hundreds of cases take place in a single location, the contact tracing system can reach its limits at 200 because the system is overloaded. 

“If the number of infections is over 300 in just one day, this is still feasible. But if this goes on for several days or if the number of new infections increases continuously, then the capacity of contact tracing in the cantons will reach its limit and we may end up in a wave.”

Tanner said it was not easy to determine the cause of the new outbreaks, however the investigations will be improved by the use of contact tracing. 

 

 

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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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