יוסי כהן יחד עם בנימין נתניהו
Mossad chief Yossi Cohen and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: GPO
Mossad chief Yossi Cohen and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Mossad procures test kits for COVID-19, but without vital swabs

Following concerns the supplies purchased by spy agency are not the most urgently needed, organization says it is coordinating its efforts with Health Ministry, but declines to say with which countries it is cooperating

Attila Somfalvi, Itamar Eichner |
Published: 03.19.20 , 10:26
The Mossad spy agency procured 100,000 coronavirus testing kits and are expected to obtain millions more, even as the Health Ministry said the kits they received were missing the swabs needed to conduct the tests.
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  • Israel's legendary spy agency is not normally tasked with procurement but stepped in to assist the health authorities.
    יוסי כהן יחד עם בנימין נתניהו יוסי כהן יחד עם בנימין נתניהו
    Mossad chief Yossi Cohen and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: GPO)
    Mossad would not say where the kits were purchased but claims the same contacts are still being used.
    "Unfortunately, what Mossad has delivered is not what we are in need of," Health Ministry Deputy Director-General Prof. Itamar Grotto told Ynet.
    מעבדת קורונה בשיבאמעבדת קורונה בשיבא
    Samples at the Sheba Medical center testing lab
    (Photo: Amir Hoover)
    Mossad said it is coordinating needs with the ministry and will purchase supplies as instructed.
    On Wednesday, the founder of the online shopping giant Alibaba Jack Ma told Israel's ambassador to China that he will provide the country with tens of thousands of testing kits and other medical supplies. Ma has made similar gestures to the U.S. and other countries.
    The Health Ministry, which has been publishing information about the movement of confirmed coronavirus patients, said it is now processing more information as more labs have begun testing for the virus and will make the information available on its website as soon as possible.
    מעבדה בבית החולים שיבא לבדיקת נגיף הקורונהמעבדה בבית החולים שיבא לבדיקת נגיף הקורונה
    A laboratory at Sheba Medical Centerlab
    (Photo: Yariv Katz)
    There are currently 20 labs in Israel dedicated to coronavirus tests, after weeks with only two laboratories able to handle the load of public testing.
    Drive-in testing sites are being set up in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to increase screening for the virus.

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