Comptroller slams Israeli government's Covid-19 failings

Matanyahu Engelman Photo: Website Council for Higher Ed.

From tracking and testing to compensation grants and remote education, State Comptroller has issued a special report on where the government has gone wrong.

Israel's State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman has issued a series of special reports listing the government's main failings in handling the Covid-19 pandemic and its resulting economic crisis.

On testing the report cites the NIS 98 million spent by the Ministry of Health on serological tests but it has yet to develop a comprehensive plan on how to use them.

On tracking while the Comptroller has some positive words to say about the Shin Bet icon and its efforts to break the chain of infection, he lists low figures for those observing isolation and high figures for falsely identifying people who had come into contact with an infected person. While praising the Shin Bet's efforts to protect privacy, the Comptroller still suggests it would be better for a civilian organization to undertake the tracking.

The Comptroller also blasts the Ministry of Health for still not having an epidemiological investigation system as well as failing, together with the Health Funds, to set up properly for distributing a Covid-19 vaccination when it becomes available next year. Another criticism is of the failure to supply adequate personal protective equipment to medical teams.

The Comptroller slams the Ministry of Education, which eight months into the crisis, and with schools still closed and lessons given remotely, still has no idea how many students do not have an available computer at home and/or an Internet infrastructure. The Ministry of Education, based on OECD figures claims that only 6% of schoolchildren need computers but the Central Bureau of Statistics puts the figure at 16% and the Ministry of Finance Chief Economist says it is 20%. To meet the shortfall the Ministry of Education has procured 150,000 computers but it remains unclear who they are going to give them to.

The Comptroller also takes the Israel Tax Authority to task for failing to send out sufficient payment to the self-employed hit by the economic crisis because of problems in calculating the correct compensation.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 26, 2020

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

Matanyahu Engelman Photo: Website Council for Higher Ed.
Matanyahu Engelman Photo: Website Council for Higher Ed.
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