The World Health Organization says it is very worried about the rapidly growing surge of coronavirus cases in Brazil and Mexico.

Iran PressAmerica: WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at his regular briefing in Geneva on Monday: “I think Brazil has to be very, very serious," in combating the surge there. He echoed the same concern for Mexico, which he said was in “bad shape.” 

"The number of cases doubled, and the number of deaths doubled. ... We would like to ask Mexico to be very serious," he said.

Mexico’s cumulative COVID-19 death toll passed 100,000 on November 20, and the country has added more than 5.000 deaths since then.

Brazil has recorded more than 172,000 deaths from COVID-19, second only to the United States, which has reported more than 267,000 deaths.

On Monday, Brazil’s most populous state, Sao Paulo, ordered shops, bars, and restaurants to limit themselves to 40% capacity to try to control the spread of the pathogen.

Meanwhile, drugmaker Moderna said Monday it has applied for emergency authorization in the US and is seeking the same approval in Europe to distribute its coronavirus vaccine after tests showed it is 94% effective.   

The request comes shortly after another drug company, Pfizer-BioNTech, sought the same emergency authorization. If granted, inoculations in the US could begin as soon as mid-December.

The Moderna and Pfizer requests for emergency use of their vaccines come as the number of coronavirus cases is surging in the US, where tens of thousands of new cases are being recorded daily.

The global death toll is 1,473,920 with 63,589,301 confirmed cases. 

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