The death toll in Brazil from the novel coronavirus has climbed by 23 to 159, the country’s health minister said Monday.  

Speaking at a news conference, Luiz Henrique Mandetta said his country was not well equipped to battle the virus and was in need of more intensive care units and respiratory equipment. 

Meanwhile, President Jair Bolsonaro, who previously referred to coronavirus measures as “hysteria,” said declarations of states of emergency by some governors were exaggerated. 

On March 18, a state of emergency was declared in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo states, where the outbreak was most visible. 


Read more: Death toll in Brazil from COVID-19 rises to 159