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HEALTH

Coronavirus mutation in Switzerland since early December

Wastewater studies have shown that the coronavirus mutation first detected in the United Kingdom has been present in Switzerland since the 9th of December.

Coronavirus mutation in Switzerland since early December
A security staff wearing a protective face mask walks past a ski lift in the Alpine resort of Verbier, well known by British ski holiday makers, on December 22, 2020. Image: AFP

Samples from wastewater around Zurich, Lausanne and another “unspecified winter sports area” in Switzerland reports Austria’s Kronen Zeitung. 

Covid-19 in Switzerland: Mutated virus strain found in several cantons

The findings illustrate that despite the Swiss government’s effort to stop flights from the UK and to require quarantine for arrivals, the virus had already made its way to Switzerland. 

The ETH researchers looked at 48 wastewater samples from across the country. 

Previously, the first time the mutation of the virus had been detected in Switzerland was on the 24th of December. 

What do we know about the mutation? 

Just before Christmas, a mutation of coronavirus first detected in Great Britain and South Africa led to flights being banned and new entry restrictions across Europe. 

The variant was first detected in Switzerland on Christmas Eve among two passengers who were UK residents and had recently arrived in Switzerland. 

READ: Everything we need to know about the coronavirus mutation in Switzerland 

On Sunday, January 3rd, Geneva health authorities said it was likely community transmission was already taking place in Switzerland. 

As of January 6th, there were an expected 28 cases of the variant in Switzerland. 

 

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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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