Coronavirus: More than 1,000 people have died in Africa from COVID-19

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: WHO says containment of novel coronavirus ‘is possible’' Coronavirus outbreak: WHO says containment of novel coronavirus ‘is possible’
WATCH: WHO says containment of novel coronavirus ‘is possible’ – Apr 17, 2020

Africa now has more than 1,000 deaths from COVID-19, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Saturday, while Nigeria said the president’s chief of staff had died.

A total of 52 of the continent’s 54 countries have reported the coronavirus, with the overall number of cases surpassing 20,000 on Saturday.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Protests against lockdowns pop up as U.S. death toll tops 31,000

Nigeria’s government said Abba Kyari, chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, died Friday of COVID-19. “May God accept his soul,” the statement said.

Kyari had been considered by some as Nigeria’s most powerful government figure, His infection had been one of the highest-profile in Africa. Several government ministers and a U.S. ambassador were infected with the virus earlier in Burkina Faso.

Story continues below advertisement

Kyari announced his illness last month, saying that “I have made my own care arrangements to avoid further burdening the public health system, which faces so many pressures.”

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus around the world: April 17, 2020' Coronavirus around the world: April 17, 2020
Coronavirus around the world: April 17, 2020

He was reported to have been infected during a visit to Germany. He was criticized for not isolating upon his return to Nigeria and accused of infecting other top government officials.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

Nigeria currently has nearly 500 cases of the virus.

READ MORE: Why the coronavirus fight can only succeed with worldwide cooperation

The World Health Organization on Friday noted a 51 per cent increase in cases in Africa and a 60 per cent jump in deaths in the past week. But the WHO chief warned that because of a shortage of testing “it’s likely the real numbers are higher than reported.”

Story continues below advertisement

The Africa CDC has said more than 1 million test kits will be rolled out starting next week.

Sponsored content