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HEALTH

UK to impose compulsory quarantine on arrivals from Switzerland

Switzerland has been added to the UK's mandatory quarantine list, due to increasing infection rates, meaning travellers to Britain will have to self-isolate or face a fine.

UK to impose compulsory quarantine on arrivals from Switzerland
A man places a Union Jack next to the Swiss flag. Photo: Stefan WERMUTH / AFP

UK Transport secretary Grant Shapps confirmed on Thursday reports that travellers coming from Switzerland will have to quarantine for 14 days if they arrive in the UK after 4am on Saturday.

The Department of Transport said equivalent measures are being put in place in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Scotland had already moved to enforce quarantine for travellers from Switzerland last week.

 “Data shows we need to remove the Czech Republic, Jamaica and Switzerland from our list of #Coronavirus Travel Corridors to keep infection rates DOWN,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps wrote on Twitter.

“Data also shows we can now add Cuba to those countries INCLUDED in Travel Corridors,” he added, warning that people thinking of travelling abroad should be prepared for the advice to change at short notice.

The Times reported on Tuesday that the UK government is set to add Switzerland to its list of countries which require a mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival. 

Over the past fortnight, Switzerland has had 20.7 infections per 100,000 inhabitants – over the UK government threshold of 20. 

Scotland has already added Switzerland to its mandatory quarantine list, with arrivals needing to quarantine from August 22nd onwards. 

According to the Times, the UK will add Switzerland to the list when it meets on the weekend of August 29th. 

At a previous meeting, on August 13th, the UK elected not to add Switzerland to the list. 

Switzerland's threshold for requiring a mandatory quarantine is however much higher than that in the UK, set at 60 new infections per 100,000. 

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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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