Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has denied the country’s healthcare system will collapse next month, contradicting his own health minister as the number of deaths in the country jumped 39 per cent and confirmed cases topped 1,500.

The latest health ministry figures on Sunday show that the death toll from coronavirus in Brazil rose to at least 25 from 18 the day before, a rise of 39 per cent, and the number of confirmed cases now stands at 1,546, up from 1,128.

In an interview with CNN Brasil on Saturday night, Bolsonaro also expressed his frustration with several states’ measures to essentially shut down commerce and restrict people’s movement, saying they have gone too far and are damaging the economy.

“I think Mandetta was exaggerating,” Bolsonaro told CNN Brasil, referring to health minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta, who said on Friday that Brazil’s fragile healthcare system will collapse under the weight of coronavirus by the end of April.

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Bolsonaro said “collapse” was the wrong choice of words.

“What we’re doing is lengthening the infection curve. I don’t believe in a collapse,” he said.

Bolsonaro tweeted on Sunday that the government is distributing around 10 million coronavirus tests, half of which have been dispatched this month.

3:56Coronavirus around the world: March 22, 2020

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