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HEALTH

Swiss airlines considers mandatory coronavirus testing for flights

Swiss airlines is investigating the use of rapid coronavirus tests on flights after a similar program has been adopted in Germany.

Swiss airlines considers mandatory coronavirus testing for flights
A closed Swiss airlines check-in desk. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Swiss airlines could soon be following the lead of its German parent company Lufthansa in requiring all passengers to provide a negative coronavirus test in order to board the plane. 

Passengers flying on Lufthansa’s Munich to Hamburg route can only board the plane with evidence of a negative coronavirus test. 

If they do not have evidence of a negative test which was taken in the past 48 hours, they will be required to take a rapid test at the airport before boarding. 

Five promising signs that Covid-19 pandemic might be 'stabilising' in Switzerland 

Pursuant to the plan, all airline staff would also be tested. 

This test is free, German media outlet Welt reported on Wednesday

According to Swiss airlines, a similar plan is being developed here. 

Swiss media spokesman Michael Stief said a similar plan was being developed for major airports. 

“We are currently working on a concept of how rapid tests can be introduced at the airports in Zurich and Geneva,” he told Swiss media outlet 20 Minutes

“The aim is to enable mobility and freedom of travel even during the pandemic and at the same time to ensure health protection.”

Stief said rapid tests could relaunch the struggling airline industry which has been crippled by coronavirus travel restrictions. 

“The combination of a quick test before departure and another test after arrival could be a useful way of ensuring a particularly high level of protection in risk areas,” he said. 

“It offers great potential for reducing travel restrictions between individual countries.”

 

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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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