Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
MDA employee arrives with a test kit to test a patient with symptoms of the coronavirus in Jerusalem, March 16, 2020.

In an operation conducted overnight Thursday, the Mossad managed to bring to Israel 100,000 coronavirus test kits from abroad. In the coming days, according to Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, the clandestine agency will conduct additional operations to bring home 4 million test kits from several countries.

But Health Ministry Deputy Director Prof. Itamar Grotto told Ynet Thursday morning that “unfortunately, what was brought in right now is not exactly what we are missing. I mean, there are all kinds of ingredients in the test and that’s not what we’re short of right now. The problem is that we are short of swabs.”


Perhaps the IDF special forces could go on swab-collecting raids?

Mossad director Yossi Cohen

At the same time, the Mossad cyber staff is assisting the health ministry in writing unique software and applications for dealing with the virus. In fact, all of Israel’s intelligence and security agencies are mobilizing to assist the efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

In recent days, the defense establishment has been increasing its involvement in handling and managing the coronavirus crisis, alongside the health ministry. The Home Front Command is admitting light cases in the Dan hotels in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. And Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has harnessed his office’s security procurement administration to purchase from abroad all the missing equipment to fight the virus.

In addition, DM Bennett signed an order Wednesday authorizing the mobilization of 2,000 reserve personnel to deepen the Home Front Command’s staff.

With the increased number of test kits, the health ministry has been dealing with increasing the number of labs capable of processing the results. Last Saturday, only two such labs were operating in Israel, at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer and at Rambam Hospital in Haifa. Three additional labs were added on Sunday, at Soroka Hospital in Beersheba, Hadassah Ein Kerem in Jerusalem, and a second lab in Sheba.

In Israel there are now more than 15 devices that can test for the coronavirus, some of which have been retooled to meet this task.

Meanwhile, on Thursday morning, Shalva Dahan, the last patient from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was held in a Japanese port, it is expected to be released from hospital, having spent 28 days in solitary confinement under medical supervision, following two negative results for the presence of the virus in her body.


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