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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street on Sept. 21. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The U.K. could see up to 50,000 coronavirus cases per day by mid-October if current growth continues, top scientific advisers warned in a televised address from Downing Street on Monday.

The big picture: The U.K. has upgraded its coronavirus alert level from three to four as infections appear to be "high or rising exponentially." Meanwhile, recent European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) data shows that over half of all European Union countries are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases.

What they're saying: "At the moment, we think that the epidemic is doubling roughly every seven days" in the U.K., chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance said.

  • England's chief medical officer Chris Whitty stressed that unemployment and poverty are risks of taking strong action against the virus — like enforcing stay-at-home orders — but that more deaths will occur if aggressive action is not taken.

Where it stands: ECDC data shows that Spain, France, the Czech Republic, Croatia and Romania have recorded more than 120 confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days, according to AP.

  • In Madrid, the rate of infection is nearly three times higher than the national average, at 683 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, per AP. Spain, one of the first epicenters of the virus in Europe, is faring the worst of countries tracked by the ECDC.
  • France has seen 31,285 deaths since the start of the pandemic, one of the highest death tolls in Europe. This weekend, France reported a record 13,000 new infections in 24 hours.
  • The Czech Republic reported 3,000 new cases on Thursday, almost as many as the country saw in all of March.
  • Croatia has recorded over 14,000 new COVID-19 cases per day since Sept. 16, while Romania is seeing over 11,000 new infections per day, according to Johns Hopkins data.

What to watch: Analysts expect the British government to announce short-term restrictions after Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with ministers over the weekend, AP reports.

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel is planning second-wave prevention with her “Coronavirus Cabinet.” These plans include walk-in “fever clinics” to separate coronavirus patients from others.
  • Police in Madrid are limiting travel in working-class neighborhoods that have seen high transmission rates, while parks are closed and restaurants and shops must limit their occupancy at 50%.
  • Czech Republic's Health Minister Adam Vojtech resigned Monday because of rising cases.
  • There are 20 new testing centers set to open in Paris and surrounding suburbs this week.

Go deeper

Updated Dec 30, 2020 - World

U.K. first nation to approve Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson with a vial of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine at Wockhardt's pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in November in Wrexham, Wales. Photo: Paul Ellis/WPA Pool/Getty Images

The COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University was approved for use in the United Kingdom on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The U.K. is the first country to authorize this coronavirus vaccine that's cheaper and easier to store than others. It's less than three weeks since British regulators became the first in the West to give emergency approval for a COVID-19 vaccine — Pfizer-BioNTech's.

Dec 29, 2020 - Health

Stay-at-home order extended for Southern California, San Joaquin Valley

A nurse tightens her gown in the ICU at Providence St. Jude Medical Center Christmas Day in Fullerton, California. Photo: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California's regional stay-at-home order has been extended for Southern California and San Joaquin Valley, officials announced Tuesday.

Driving the news: The expected move came as the ICU capacity in both regions remained at 0%, the state health department said. Southern California and San Joaquin Valley have been under the order since Dec. 6.

Dec 29, 2020 - Health

Colorado reports first known U.S. case of new coronavirus variant

Healthcare workers collecting samples at a coronavirus testing site in Denver in November. Photo: Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Colorado's health department discovered the new variant of the coronavirus that may be more transmissible, Gov. Jared Polis announced on Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's the first known U.S. case of the variant, which was initially discovered in the United Kingdom.