Africa deaths above 1,000, including Nigerian chief of staff

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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 more than 19,800.

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

Kyari’s case had been one of the highest-profile in Africa. Several government ministers and a US ambassador were infected with the virus earlier in Burkina Faso.

The World Health Organization on Friday noted a 51 percent increase in cases in Africa and a 60 percent 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. The Africa CDC has said more than 1 million test kits will be rolled out starting next week.

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