By Sinan Dogan
ANKARA (AA) – 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.
Brazil has also announced at least 4,579 confirmed cases.
After first appearing in Wuhan, China last December, the novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 177 countries and territories, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
More than 784,000 cases have been reported worldwide, with the death toll over 37,500 and more than 165,000 recoveries.
*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas