Mossad chief Yossi Cohen reportedly told health officials during a briefing Thursday that the coronavirus pandemic was more serious in a number of Arab states and in Iran than the governments there have been acknowledging.
“In Lebanon, Iraq and Syria there is a high morbidity and they’re lying,” Channel 13 news quoted Cohen as saying.
“The number of infected and dead that the Iranians are reporting is also not true. The numbers I’m familiar with are much higher,” he added.
Many have accused the Islamic Republic of under-reporting the scope of its coronavirus outbreak.
Iran, the Middle Eastern country hardest hit by the pandemic, on Thursday put its death toll from the virus at 5,481 out of more than 87,000 confirmed cases. State TV said there were 1,030 new cases and the death toll was 90 more than Wednesday.
Iraq has confirmed 1,677 cases and 83 deaths, Lebanon has reported 688 infections and 22 deaths, and Syria has confirmed just 42 cases and three deaths.
Cohen also reportedly said that as part of the efforts to bring medical equipment from overseas, the Mossad had obtained some 50 million face masks and 260 ventilators.
“Despite all our connections the doors were closed in most countries of the world and therefore we brought the production lines to Israel,” he was reported to say, without further clarification.
The Mossad has made several shipments of equipment from abroad, aimed at addressing shortages in Israel.
There had been concerns there may not be enough ventilators to treat all of the most seriously ill patients in Israel, although the number of people requiring ventilation has stopped growing lately.
However, officials still widely fear a second wave of infection that could test the capacity of Israel’s health system.