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HEALTH

Coronavirus: Zurich emerges as Switzerland’s new ‘high risk’ area

Zurich has emerged as Switzerland's new coronavirus hotspot, with the cantonal government fearing 'massive economic consequences'.

Coronavirus: Zurich emerges as Switzerland's new 'high risk' area
Winterthur's city hall. Photo: SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP

Zurich, Switzerland's most populous canton, reached 60 new infections per 100,000 residents on Sunday. 

Not only does this make it one of the country's new coronavirus hotspots, but it has crossed the government's threshold for 'high risk' countries. 

This means that if Zurich was a foreign country, its residents would need to quarantine for ten days upon arrival in Switzerland. 

Despite this, the Swiss government has frequently rejected any internal quarantines to be placed on arrivals from specific cantons. 

READ: Everything you need to know about Switzerland's quarantine requirement 

As reported in the Tages Anzeiger, the cantonal government is concerned about the impact these rising infection rates will have on tourists and business travellers. 
 
Zurich put in place stricter rules on Thursday, August 27th, including compulsory masks in shops, supermarkets and markets. 

Geneva still the hardest hit

The western canton of Geneva has been the hardest hit for months, with new infections rates remaining high.

There have been 96 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants over the past two weeks. 

If Geneva were a country, it would also be above the Swiss government’s threshold for ‘high-risk’ countries that require a ten-day quarantine on arrival. 

READ MORE: Which cantons are worst at enforcing coronavirus measures? 

Geneva. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Cantonal officials point out that the immediate risk is less significant as those infected are primarily younger, however the risk of infecting a person in a vulnerable category remains high. 

On Tuesday, July 28th, Geneva put in place compulsory mask requirements in shops and in the Geneva Airport. 

 

Correction: This article previously stated that masks were required in restaurants and bars. As of August 27th, masks are only compulsory in shopping centres, supermarkets, markets and shops in Zurich. 

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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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