Two Swiss cantons call for military assistance as hospitalisations skyrocket

The western Swiss cantons of Geneva and Fribourg have called for military assistance to help them manage rapidly increasing hospitalisations.

Two Swiss cantons call for military assistance as hospitalisations skyrocket
Switzerland looks set to deploy its military in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Switzerland’s Tages Anzeiger reported on Wednesday that the two cantons had applied to the Federal Council for military assistance. 



The first wave of the coronavirus remains the largest mobilisation of the Swiss army since the Second World War, when 6,000 soldiers were deployed. 

This took place from mid-March to June – and the deployment looks likely again. 

READ: Lockdown looms likely as Switzerland's epidemic reaches 'mid-March levels' 

The cantons – both in the hard-hit French-speaking region of Switzerland – said they could no longer cope with the demands of the pandemic on their own. 

Both Fribourg and Geneva have been confirmed as the cantons requesting assistance. 

As the paper reported “There are already more Covid patients in hospital care in Fribourg than in the first wave and a trend reversal in the number of infections is not yet in sight.”

Fribourg is one of Switzerland’s hardest hit cantons, with 1,333 confirmed infections per 100,000 residents over the past 14 days. 

Pursuant to the request, troops would be deployed to hospitals in the cantons to help medical staff. 

Didier Page, head of communications at the Freiburg Security Directorate, said the situation was “tense”. 

“The help of the military would lead to a certain relaxation,” Page told the Tages Anzeiger. 

The government will decide whether or not to deploy the military to the cantons as per the request in their crisis meeting on Wednesday. 




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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.