August 2020 - Y-Axis Australia Blog

Archive - August 2020

Concerns high on migration, rising pandemic cases in Italy

Northern Italy increased migration

A growing monthly influx of migrants coming on Italy visit visa to the Friuli Venezia Giulia region of Italy has created concern. This was expressed by Massimiliano Fedriga, the governor of the region of north-eastern Italy.

Nearly 1,000 migrants have been arriving every month in Friuli Venezia Giulia since May 2020. Fedriga has called the present situation unmanageable. The spike in the number of migrants happened after COVID-19 lockdown measures were lifted by the Government of Italy.

The comments of the Governor were addressed to the parliamentary committee so as to control the implementation of the Schengen Agreement on 5th August 2020.

When the COVID-19 lockdown was in place, the epidemiological situation in Friuli Venezia Giulia had reached a very satisfactory level. But the recent relapse of the pandemic happened with increased cases. This has been largely been due to people who came from abroad as on an Italy tourist visa or from foreign people.

The region has a crisis owing to not having enough facilities available for quarantine. Fedriga was also skeptical about deploying the essential 700 army officers at the border to monitor the arrival of infected people.

Even the overall growth in COVID-19 infections in Italy is a matter of great concern. Fedriga stated that in proportion to the country’s population, Italy has a 10 times higher rate of infections from the pandemic. This is clear when the number of cases is compared to those of Herzegovina and Bosnia.

Fedriga has called for prohibiting the migrant influx from happening illegally. He also reiterated the inability of Friuli Venezia Giulia to manage the increasing count of illegal migrants.

It was in July 2020 that Germany had stressed on the necessity of a coordinated platform to strengthen cooperation amongst the EU member states against illegal migration. This happened during the conference of the Interior Ministers that was held in Vienna.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to Italy, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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The Swiss list for quarantined nations gets 7 more names

Norway marks green countries yellow, all in good intention

Norway quarantine for high risk countries

The Norway government has made a significant new announcement. All countries that were marked as green countries (safe as to the low risk of COVID-19) on the travel advisory have now been marked yellow. This decision was made after observing an increase in COVID-19 cases of infection in many of the earlier green countries.

Erna Solberg, the Prime Minister of Norway gave out her opinion that with the chances of catching an infection is prevalent in any country now, there is in real terms no basis to consider any country to be ‘green’.

Nevertheless, the change in marking of the green countries to yellow will not make it compulsory for travelers, arriving with Norway visit visa, from those countries mandatory. The new decision is only meant to put Norwegian citizens on alert and have them rethink about all non-essential travel abroad to any country.

Erna Solberg also emphasized on the point that such measures are meant to avoid misunderstanding and make the choice for the better to avoid all non-essential trips abroad. She also said that as long as Norway upholds the recommendation to its citizens to avoid non-essential travel, the country would want to classify world countries as only red or yellow.

Yellow countries are those with a moderate level of COVID-19 pandemic risk. The ones that were earlier green were considered to have a low rate of infections. Now, Norway considers all countries as yellow countries. But still, the travelers, as on Norway tourist visa, from those countries aren’t obliged to follow quarantine measures while entering Norway.

The countries that are marked red and the travelers from which have to go into quarantine are:

  • Czech Republic
  • Bulgaria
  • Romania
  • Poland
  • Iceland
  • Netherlands
  • Belgium
  • Portugal
  • Spain

Most EU countries, marked as a shaded area, are also subject to quarantine measures.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health is the body in Norway that constantly evaluates the COVID-19 situation in other countries. It does regular updates of the list of safe and unsafe countries every 14 days.

Norway will also not open borders for 12 non-EU countries which were recommended by the EU Commission as safe. Norway insists on being sure of the epidemiological status of the country before opening borders to them.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to Europe, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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The new UK Health and Care visa is available, apply now

EU guides passengers on flights cancelled by COVID-19

What to do for flight cancellations

There are many travelers, as on a visitor visa, who are stranded in the EU countries as they have imposed travel restrictions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. To their knowledge and clarity, the EU Commission has published guidelines. This set of guidelines gives detailed information on the rights of passengers who are stuck in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flight cancellations owing to travel restrictions

The options airlines are obliged to give a passenger whose flights are canceled due to COVID-19 are:

  • Re-routing at a later date at passenger’s convenience
  • Re-routing at the earliest opportunity
  • Reimbursement/refund.

If re-routing is the option a passenger chooses, he/she may have to wait for a long time as the air traffic is uncertain as of now owing to the pandemic situation. So, attempting to re-route at the earliest chance could in fact take time. Rather it would be better for passengers to attempt re-routing at his/her convenience.

If the passenger chooses to get refunded, the following scenarios may play out:

  • If the passenger has a return flight on the same booking, then he/she will be reimbursed for both flights.
  • If the passenger’s return flight was on another booking, he/she will only be reimbursed for the outbound flight, but not for the return flight.

Airlines can also issue a voucher to the passengers whose flights were canceled. The voucher can be used as a credit to be used to purchase another flight ticket from the same airline. It will not matter if there is a change in destination.

Compensation for flight delay

The EU regulation 261/2004 is to be understood to check out about compensation for flight delays. It says that in case an airline cancels a flight within 2 weeks prior to the date of departure, the passenger can claim compensation. But this is not applicable in case the cancellation resulted from extraordinary circumstances. COVID-19 travel restrictions come under extraordinary circumstances.

Also, in case the destination country imposes COVID-19 travel restrictions, rendering flights inoperative to that country, the passenger may not be able to claim compensation as it wasn’t the airline’s decision.

Compensation is available only for flights from EU airlines or flights to or from EU countries.

Voucher from airlines against cancellations

Airlines could opt to give passengers vouchers instead of reimbursement. Nevertheless, the passenger must finally have the opportunity to choose between a refund or a voucher.

With a voucher for the same amount as the passenger has paid for the ticket, he/she could use it to book a ticket even if it is not to the same destination or via the same route.

The EU Commission has given a few points as recommendations for the nature of airline vouchers. They are:

  • The minimum validity of a voucher should be 12 months.
  • A voucher the passenger hasn’t used even after its expiry should be reimbursed by the airline within 14 days.
  • When the voucher is valid, the passenger should be able to pay for a flight that he/she will take after the expiry of the voucher.
  • The passenger should be able to use the voucher for package travel or any transport services offered by the airline.
  • No price difference must be there between the voucher and the ticket.
  • The passenger should be able to book a service using the voucher with the same conditions applied to the canceled package.
  • The passenger should be able to transfer the voucher to another passenger without incurring added costs.
  • The voucher that the airline issues must specify the validity period and the passenger’s rights either in electronic form or on paper.

But since all airlines are following these guidelines, the passenger must check for the following before accepting the voucher to a reimbursement.

  • The length of the voucher’s validity
  • The usability of the voucher to buy a ticket for someone else
  • The transferability of the voucher
  • The option of using the remainder of the amount in the voucher in case the passenger does not use it fully
  • The price coverage of the voucher (whether it covers the entire price of the ticket)

Airline not reimbursing the ticket upon flight cancellation

The passenger has all the right conferred by EU law to demand a full reimbursement for flights canceled. In case the airline refuses to reimburse, the passenger can resort to actions including written complaints and making the booking transaction void and fraudulent by collaborating with the bank.

But one thing to be considered is that in the event of overworked airline staff, the process of reimbursement may get delayed. But if there’s a denial or failure to reimburse, the passenger has ways to counter it.

Whether the airline offer care to the passenger

In case a passenger is affected by travel disruptions owing to incidents like the COVID-19 pandemic and is waiting to be re-routed, then it becomes the responsibility of the airline to offer the passenger care for free. This includes accommodation at a hotel, transportation to the hotel and meals, and refreshments. In case the passenger is disabled, the extra assistance necessary should be provided.

The airline must make sure that the passenger gets care in proportion to his/her needs and the time spent waiting. The price of the ticket should not influence the care given.

But it has to be noted here that if the passenger chooses to be reimbursed fully or to be re-routed at a later date of his/her choice, the airline isn’t obliged to provide care to such passengers.

The passenger canceling the trip

If the passenger cancels the trip, he/she is not eligible for automatic reimbursement. It will depend on whether the ticket is refundable or non-refundable. Other terms and conditions attached to the ticket will also count.

Passenger’s rights

As per the guidelines from the EU Commission in the context of COVID-19 situation, in case of the airline delaying the flight the passenger can:

  • Choose between re-routing and reimbursement
  • Claim the right to care the airline should offer by providing meals and refreshments for the time the passenger waits for resolution, arranging accommodation in a hotel, and arrange transportation to the place of accommodation.
  • Claim compensation in every case except when it’s an “extraordinary circumstance” that’s beyond the control of the airlines.

The passenger doesn’t have the right to reimbursement or compensation if he/she cancels the flight by himself/herself.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to Europe, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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Controversial UK immigration tool scrapped, new tool to replace

The Swiss list for quarantined nations gets 7 more names

Switzerland quarantine list 7 added

Switzerland has added 7 more countries to the list of nations that are in its quarantine list. The citizens of these countries must go through 10 days of mandatory quarantine upon arrival in Switzerland, as on a visitor visa. Switzerland has also removed 3 countries from the quarantine list. The travelers from those countries will now not be required to enter into quarantine when they reach Switzerland.

This was announced by Switzerland’s Health Office of Public Health. This decision was implemented on August 8, 2020. The following are the countries added to Switzerland’s quarantine list:

  • São Tomé and Príncipe
  • Sint Maarten
  • Romania
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • The Bahamas
  • Singapore
  • Spain (except the Balearic and Canary Islands)

Travelers from Azerbaijan and those coming from UAE and Russia won’t be required to adhere to total isolation upon arrival in Switzerland. Presently, it’s obligatory for travelers from 46 nations to follow quarantine rules upon their arrival as on a Switzerland tourist visa. In another development, earlier this month, Belgium had added Switzerland to its list of “red zone” countries, as they found surging COVID-19 cases in that country.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to Switzerland, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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The new UK Health and Care visa is available, apply now

New UK Health and Care Visa

From August 4, 2020, the new UK Health and Care visa that has been announced is open for applications. The details of this new visa are available on the official website of the UK government, which gives all the information on UK visas and immigration. It outlines the list of eligible people who can apply and the costs involved.

The UK Health and Care visa is meant for those people who have a job offer from the NHS (National Health Service) or organizations that offer social care for adults. As of now, the visa is available to applicants outside the EEA (European Economic Area) besides those from Switzerland. Nevertheless, this could change post-Brexit.

Among those eligible for this visa are health professionals, adult social workers (senior-level), nurses, and doctors. The eligibility depends on and employer’s sponsorship with a valid Tier 2 sponsor license. A certificate of sponsorship will be issued to those who fulfill the job role’s criteria.

The application for Tier 2 Health and Care visa can be submitted up to 3 months before the date of the beginning of the applicant’s employment in the UK. The decisions on the applications are made pretty fast, within 3 weeks from submitting the applicant’s biometric information. Hence the visa is considered a fast track route for UK immigration. The cost of submitting biometric information is £19.20.

The visa costs can vary according to the length of stay in the UK. For a Health and Care visa that is valid for a maximum term of 3 years, the cost is £232. For the visa that has a term of more than 3 years, the cost is £464 as of now.

Irrespective of whether the visa is applied from within the UK or outside, the fees are charged at the same rate. The costs are also applicable to dependants.

The fees for Health and Care visa are reduced for citizens of Macedonia and Turkey. For them, the visa valid for up to 3 years is £177. For the visa issued for a period beyond that, the fee charged is £409.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to the UK, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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Belgium will not allow non-essential travel to regions of Europe

Controversial UK immigration tool scrapped, new tool to replace

Racist UK visa software

The UK has now taken corrective steps for a controversial issue with its streaming tool used in immigration. It’s used to screen applications received for UK visas & immigration. This software with its much-rebuked algorithm has been in use since 2015. It was scrapped on August 7, 2020, following a legal challenge from the JCWI (Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants). Matters were escalated to a legal move after widespread criticism that the algorithm of the software was intrinsically racist.

The issue with the algorithm was noticed when it issued a ‘red flag’ for applications for UK visas submitted by nationals from certain countries. Most of these countries were African.

The Home Office has made it clear that it will no more use the tool in its present form. It also said that the interim replacement of the software won’t take nationality into account.

Chai Patel, JCWI’s legal policy director, stated regarding the decision to scrap the software. He said that the Home office made an independent review of the Windrush scandal. Then they found that the racist assumptions and the system that runs on it were unknown to them.

He observed that the tool had gone through decades of institutionally racist practices. Targeting certain nationalities for immigration raids is an instance of this. In fact, these racist practices were realized through the software. Now, there’s a need to rebuild the immigration system from the ground up. The tool has to be fair to all applicants and should be incorporated with the monitoring of such bias that has to be rooted out.

JCWI and Foxglove challenged the tool in court. Foxglove is a technology justice campaign group. They argued that the algorithm categorised immigrants using 3 channels. One of them called “fast lane” sped up the application process for white people who came from countries the tool had favored.

The major contributor to the bias was from the tool calculating the risk factor of the applicants. The calculation was based on the rate of visa denial of their home countries. This unfairly led to deserving applicants losing their opportunity as their applications got rejected.

The streaming tool has been discontinued and a substitute review of its operation is now pending. The tool will now be redesigned to make UK immigration process it handles fair, taking into account the points raised in the claims against it.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to the UK, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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EU & Schengen nations reopen VACs in India, time to apply

EU Schengen open visa center in India

Lately, more countries opening their Visa Application Centers (VAC) the world over to facilitate migration services. The majority of Schengen VACs in India have also reopened and returned to accepting visa applications though they aren’t fully operational.

VFS Global has announced the list of reopening centers on August 6, 2020. These centers will take the immigration process forward. VFS is an outsourcing and technology services company that works for governments and diplomatic missions around the world. The EU countries have also outsourced their visa services in several world countries to VFS.

The following EU and the Schengen Member States will reopen their visa centers in India include:

  • Portugal
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Norway
  • Switzerland
  • Croatia
  • Belgium
  • Austria
  • Denmark

The VACs in Hyderabad, Chennai, and Bengaluru accepts limited long-stay applications. VACs of Portugal, Norway, and Denmark in New Delhi have returned to accepting long-stay visa applications. They operate from 10 am to 2 pm. Only applications submitted via prior appointments will be accepted.

Austrian VACs have also gone back to accepting long-stay visa applications in limited numbers at:

  • South Mumbai
  • Kochi
  • Hyderabad
  • Chennai
  • Bengaluru

The Belgium VAC in South Mumbai will start to accept long-stay D visa and seafarer C visa applications again. They will operate on every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 am to 2 pm.

Croatia has resumed accepting applications for visas in exceptional cases at its VAC in Bengaluru. Its VACs in Hyderabad and Chennai are accepting only long-stay visa applications in limited numbers.

Switzerland’s VACs in Kochi and Bengaluru are accepting only limited long-stay visa applications and exceptional case applications respectively. Swiss VACs in Hyderabad and Chennai are already accepting long-stay visa applications.

The Luxembourg VACs in Chennai, Hyderabad, and New Delhi has resumed operations on July 31, 2020. VACs of Luxembourg in Kochi and Bengaluru resumed operations on August 3, 2020. These VACs will for the time being be accept only Type D visa applications. Prior appointment is necessary for submitting applications. In New Delhi these VACs will operate from 10 am to 2 pm and in Chennai and Hyderabad from 8 am to 2 pm. The return of passports via courier has been made compulsory due to the present situation owing to COVID-19.

Norway’s VAC in Bengaluru has started accepting long-stay visa applications in the limited category. Norway’s VACs in Hyderabad and Chennai are currently accepting applications for long-stay visas.

German VACs in Kochi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Bengaluru are accepting applications for Type D visa. They are also dealing with prolonging expired national visas.

Italy has opened the following VACs in India:

  • VACs in Hyderabad, Kochi, and Chennai – limited long-stay visa applications
  • VAC in Bengaluru – from July 27, 2020 – limited category applications
  • VAC in New Delhi – re-entry visa applications – operating from 10 am to 2 pm
  • VAC in Mumbai – emergency, student, seamen, and re-entry visa applications – operating from 10 am to 2 pm

Portugal’s VAC in Chennai is now reopened for those holding expired family reunification cards and expired Portuguese residence cards.

Irish VACs in the following locations are accepting applications for long-stay visa and student visas:

  • Mumbai
  • Pune
  • Ahmedabad
  • Bengaluru
  • Chennai
  • Kochi
  • Hyderabad
  • New Delhi
  • Jalandhar
  • Chandigarh
  • Kolkata

UK VACs are resumed in a phased manner at the following locations:

  • Pune
  • New Delhi (Shivaji Metro Stadium only)
  • Mumbai (Mahalaxmi only)
  • Kolkata
  • Kochi
  • Jalandhar
  • Chandigarh
  • Chennai
  • Bengaluru (Global Tech Park only)
  • Ahmedabad

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to Europe, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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Belgium will not allow non-essential travel to regions of Europe

Canadian citizenship – How to get there and what to find

Canada Citizenship

Canada’s percentage of immigrants turning to citizens is one of the highest in the world. Canada stands above major Western countries in this regard.

In Canada, citizenship can be had either through birth or by naturalization. For those who are ready for Canada immigration, naturalization is something to understand and attempt to become a citizen.

Citizenship is the mark of an immigrant’s successful integration with the country in all expected ways. Only citizenship can give an immigrant the right to vote and improve employment opportunities.

There are many benefits that come with Canadian citizenship. These include:

  • Only a citizen has the right to take part in Canadian politics. A citizen can be part of municipal, provincial, or federal elections casting votes or running for elections. They can also take part in the management of different levels of the Government of Canada.
  • Canadian citizenship is necessary to work in Canada, employed in jobs that need a high level of security. E.g. Jobs at the federal level.
  • Canadian citizens are eligible for dual or multiple citizenships.

Eligibility for Canadian citizenship

A person is eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship if they fulfil eligibility criteria like:

  • The applicant must have Canadian permanent residency
  • The applicant must have resided in Canada for a minimum of 3 years (or 1,095 days) out of the 5 years that has passed before applying
  • The applicant must be able to speak either or both English or French, which are Canada’s official languages, well enough to communicate in Canadian society
  • The applicant mustn’t have a criminal history considered one that prohibits granting Canadian citizenship
  • The applicant must pass a test that proves that they are aware of the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizens besides having a basic knowledge of Canada’s history, political system, and geography

Proper documents must be produced before the government authorities to prove that the applicant has met the prescribed eligibility criteria. This submission will be followed by a citizenship test and a citizenship interview. Passing both these will grant the applicant citizenship.

How often applicants becomecitizens?

Canada centers its social and economic plans and targets on immigration. Hence, with immigration Canada gives all the best elements for an overseas settlement for immigrants. The nation ensures that the immigrant’s transition to becoming a citizen be successful and convenient.

With naturalization, the ability of an immigrant to increase his/her earnings and get benefits from the labor market improves considerably. This in turn creates motivated individuals who work hard and heartily for the country and add to its prosperity.

From what has been observed so far in Canada, most immigrants who qualify for Canadian citizenship end up acquiring it.

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Belgium will not allow non-essential travel to regions of Europe

Belgium bans non essential travel

Belgium’s authorities have banned non-essential travel to certain areas of Switzerland, Spain, and France. So, traveling to these countries and areas on a tourist visa will not be possible. These countries have been added to Belgium’s red zone nations as there is a surging number of new COVID-19 cases.

Travel has been prohibited by the Belgium government to the following regions:

  • Autonomous Region of Aragon
  • Mayenne department, France
  • Barcelona province and Lleida province of Spain
  • The autonomous region of Navarre

The Canton Geneva, Valais, and Vaud regions in Switzerland are also listed in the “red” areas.

Other regions that are banned by Belgium from being visited for non-essential reasons are:

  • Yugozapaden and Severoiztochen in Bulgaria
  • Vukovar-Srijem county in Croatia
  • Lithuania
  • Sud-Vest Oltenia, South Muntenia, Southeast, and Central in Romania
  • Leicester in the UK

Anybody arriving in Belgium from the above-mentioned locations as with a Belgium tourist visa will have to undergo compulsory screening and quarantine.

The Belgium’s government has advised the country’s citizens to increase vigilance for “orange” regions. For those coming from these regions, screening and quarantine are not compulsory, but rather recommended.

Travel to green zones only is permitted as of now. Nevertheless, from Aug 8, 2020, everyone coming back from abroad or those preferring to stay for over 48 hours in the country must fill an identification form, furnishing detailed information.

A curfew is now in effect in Antwerp from 11.30 pm to 6 am. The Belgian authorities imposed this owing to the current COVID-19 situation.

Belgium has till now reported a total of 71, 158 cases. The death toll has reached 9,859.

In July 2020, Belgium rejected the EU Council’s recommendation favoring the residents of 15 third-countries. The Council recommended reopening borders for the mas the countries were found epidemiologically safe.

On July 15, 2020, Belgium’s National Security Council decided to permit travelers from the Schengen Area and the EU. This included the UK.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to Europe, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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Denmark allows passengers from Portugal to enter its borders

Latest move from Estonia, opens up Digital Nomad Visa

Estonia digital nomad visa

The DNV (Digital Nomad Visa) permits international citizens in Estonia to work as a freelancer or for an international employer. Estonia is now accepting applications for DNV.

With a DNV, aliens working in jobs independent of location can work remotely in Estonia. The main areas of activity this kind of visa covers are marketing, finance, and technology.

Estonia’s Ministry of Interior had announced before that DNV could be granted for both D-visa (long-term stay) and C-visa (short-term stay).

Those intending to apply for DNV must meet criteria like:

  • The applicant must prove that he/she is a “digital nomad”. This means that you can work from any location and perform duties remotely using telecommunication technology.
  • The applicant has an active work contract with a company registered outside Estonia. The applicant must be its partner shareholder or freelancer for international clients.
  • The applicant must give evidence that his/her income met the minimum threshold during the 6 months leading to the application. Currently, the monthly income threshold (gross of tax) is €3,504.

Estonia’s DNV holders are eligible to travel to other Schengen nations on the same visa legally. The DNV doesn’t require any specific profession, education level, or skill. But it does aim to attract persons to work in Estonia, who will be well-paid.

However, the DNV doesn’t mean that the holder of the visa has a right to obtain citizenship or permanent residency of Estonia. The new DNV only allows temporary stay. This is in contrast to the e-Residency.

Estonia is one of the first countries in the world to establish the DNV.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to Europe, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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Germany’s rules for travelers, COVID-19 safety on priority