For members


‘40,000 cases daily in Zurich’ as authorities warn of triage for the unvaccinated

Zurich Health Director Natalie Rickli has warned Zurich could hit 40,000 daily Covid cases and called for a relaxation in the quarantine rules. Rickli also warned hospitals may have to prioritise the vaccinated, saying Switzerland should “no longer be held hostage” but those who refuse the jab.

Zurich health boss Natalie Rickli warned Switzerland would not be
Zurich health boss Natalie Rickli warned Switzerland would not be "held hostage" by the unvaccinated. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

In December, Swiss health officials warned the country could cross the 20,000 daily Covid case mark for the first time in the new year. 

‘20,000 cases per day’: Experts draw Covid forecast for Switzerland

In just the first week of January, not only was the 20,000 case barrier crossed for the first time, but more than 30,000 cases were recorded in a 24-hour period on multiple occasions. 

Zurich Health Director Natalie Rickli has warned that the situation will continue to spiral, with internal modelling showing Zurich could itself be recording 40,000 cases per day by the end of January. 

EXPLAINED: What are Switzerland’s current Covid measures?

While Zurich is Switzerland’s most populous canton, 40,000 cases per day would see the region plunged into uncertainty and havoc, with businesses and essential services being forced to shut down due to staff quarantines. 

“We are dealing with a monster wave that cannot be stopped. It will overrun the country in the next few weeks,” Rickli told Switzerland’s NZZ newspaper. 

“They (Covid cases) will paralyse our society if we do not act now.”

Rickli called for a reduction in the quarantine rules, particularly for those who have been vaccinated. 

“That is why the federal government urgently needs to reduce the duration of the quarantine and isolation to five days. We, (the) Health Directors of the cantons of eastern Switzerland, asked the Federal Council by letter on Friday to adjust isolation and quarantine accordingly.”

Switzerland will announce a possible change to the quarantine rules on Wednesday, Finance Minister Ueli Maurer confirmed. 

Covid-19: What will Switzerland announce on Wednesday?

Triage for unvaccinated Covid patents? 

Ricki also brought up the controversial topic of hospitals deciding between vaccinated and unvaccinated patients in ICUs. 

While the current situation in Zurich’s hospitals and ICUs is relatively stable, a dramatic increase in cases could again lead to overcrowding. 

Rickli said those who refused the jab should be prepared to give up ICU spots for those who have been jabbed. 

“But above all you would have to take those at their word who absolutely refused to be vaccinated. At the moment they make up around 80 percent in the intensive care units,” she said. 

“I think such patients should also be prepared to forego intensive treatment and not burden the staff with it for weeks. 

“It cannot be that the unvaccinated continue to take us hostage as a society, now that you can see light at the end of the tunnel.”

Swiss authorities have repeatedly ruled out triage between vaccinated and unvaccinated people in Switzerland, saying the main criteria should remain the chances of survival of respective patients. 

READ MORE: Should vaccinated people have triage priority in Swiss hospitals?

Member comments

  1. At the same time we should prioritise out people who smoke, drink, eat and sit themselves sick! They should not benefit of their health insurance on the cost of all of us who are strong, healthy and more or less bold and beautiful!

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For members


Meals, commuting and ‘home office’: What can you claim on tax in Zurich?

Working from home has been mandatory in Zurich for much of the past tax year. What can you claim on tax - and what costs do you have to bear yourself?

Meals, commuting and 'home office': What can you claim on tax in Zurich?

On Thursday, February 17th, the Swiss government rolled back the working from home recommendation, meaning that working from home was purely up to employers for the first time since the start of the pandemic. 

Technological advances and the enduring legacy of the pandemic will see working from home – known in German as ‘Home Office’ – become more common in several industries in the coming years, which has clear tax implications. 

These can be relatively complex, particularly as many of the tax rules are in place at a cantonal level. 

Here’s an overview of what you can claim in Zurich – and what you cannot – when it comes to working from home. 

For a general guide on tax rules in Switzerland when it comes to working from home, check out the following link.

Reader question: Can I deduct working-from-home costs from my Swiss taxes?

Don’t live in Zurich – or want to know what costs other than working from home you can deduct? Check out the following extensive guide. 

EXPLAINED: What can I deduct from my tax bill in Switzerland?

What tax deductions can I have working from home in Zurich? 

Along with Zug, Geneva and Basel (both City and Country), Zurich allows residents to claim professional expenses as they would in a normal year, i.e. despite the Covid pandemic.

This means that you can claim meal costs and transport to work, even if you worked from home during this time. 

You can claim up to CHF15 per day, or 3,200 francs per year in Zurich. 

If you employer offers subsidised meals, you can claim a maximum of CHF7.50 per day (or CHF1,600)

Regarding transport costs, you can deduct up to CHF3,000 per year for your commute. 

This includes public transport, bicycles and mopeds. 

If you travel by private car, you can only deduct this if it is difficult to take public transport.

This is deemed to be the case if both your home and workplace are more than a kilometre from the nearest public transport stop, or if more than one hour is saved by travelling by car (per day). 

If you are unable to travel by public transport due to an injury, then you are permitted to deduct your car expenses. 

What about rent, electricity and other working-from-home expenses? 

While several Swiss cantons allow you to claim expenses of working from home like rent, electricity etc, Zurich authorities have expressly ruled this out. 

As the above costs (transport and meal allowances) have been kept in place, this is seen as a form of compromise. 

Taxpayers in Zurich are also able to claim the flat-rate deduction for all professional costs associated with working from home that are not covered by the employer, although this is only in relatively narrow scenarios. 

“This solution is advantageous for most taxpayers” say Zurich cantonal authorities. 

As with all our tax reports, this is intended as a guide only and should not take the place of qualified tax advice. More Zurich-specific information is available at this link.