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The Trocadero esplanade, in front the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Photo: Mehdi Taamallah/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The number of coronavirus cases exceeded 6 million in Europe Wednesday, per AFP, as the World Health Organization warns that the continent is experiencing "rising COVID-19 fatigue."

The big picture: Cases are surging across the U.K., France, Italy, Spain and Germany, with records set in several European countries in the past week.

  • The rises have prompted countries to introduce further measures and tighten restrictions in order to combat surging case numbers.

Zoom in: Authorities in England are looking to introduce a three-tier local local lockdown system and possibly follow central Scotland's plan to close restaurants and bars, the BBC reports.

  • The U.K. reported 14,162 new cases Wednesday, taking the total to 544,275.
  • The nation has the highest COVID-19 death toll in Europe, with 42,515 Brits losing their lives to the virus.

France's health ministry confirmed a record 18,746 new infections Wednesday, nearly doubling the previous day's tally.

  • President Emmanuel Macron pledged to impose fresh restrictions, to be detailed Thursday, in addition to those introduced in Paris and three nearby regions Tuesday that saw bars and cafes in the city close for two weeks, per France 24.

Germany reported on Thursday its infections had increased by 4,058 to 310,144 — the biggest jump seen in the country since April, per Reuters.

  • Bars, restaurants and liquor stores in the capital, Berlin, will have to close from 11pm to 6am — the first time such a measure has been imposed in 70 years, the Guardian notes.

Italy on Wednesday made wearing face masks outside mandatory across the country and extended its state of emergency through Jan. 31, AFP notes.

  • The country confirmed 3,678 new cases Wednesday — the highest number since April.

Spain's health ministry confirmed a record 5,075 new cases on Wednesday.

  • Spanish authorities have imposed restrictions in several regions, including the capital, Madrid, where bars and restaurants must shut at 10 p.m. and gatherings are limited to six people, according to the BBC.

Belgium's officials announced Wednesday plans to close bars and cafes at 11 p.m., as positive test numbers are averaging at 2,500 per day, the Brussels Times reports.

Polish authorities vowed to introduce new distancing rules and enforce measures like the wearing of masks as cases continued to soar close to Saturday's daily record of 2,367 infections, Reuters notes.

The Netherlands reported a record 4,581 new infections on Monday, according to the NL Times.

The Czech Health Ministry confirmed a record 4,457 cases Tuesday.

In Bulgaria, officials warned Thursday restrictions including shutting restaurants could be introduced as the country reported a single-day high of 437 cases, per the Guardian.

Go deeper: Brazil tops 5 million coronavirus cases

Go deeper

Updated Jan 15, 2021 - Health

The coronavirus variants: What you need to know

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New variants of the coronavirus circulating globally appear to increase transmission and are being closely monitored by scientists.

Driving the news: The highly contagious variant B.1.1.7 originally detected in the U.K. could become the dominant strain in the U.S. by March if no measures are taken to control the spread of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

Jan 15, 2021 - Health

CDC: Highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March

Health care providers work at triage tents outside Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Southern California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Friday that the highly transmissible coronavirus variant first discovered in the U.K. will likely become the dominant strain in the U.S. this March if more steps aren't taken to mitigate the spread.

The state of play: Only about 76 people in a dozen states have been diagnosed with the the B.1.1.7 variant so far, according to the CDC, but experts warn there are likely more undetected cases. Although the variant is more contagious, it does not appear to be resistant to existing vaccines or cause more severe symptoms.

Jan 16, 2021 - Health

CDC director defends agency's response to coronavirus pandemic

Robert Redfield. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Outgoing CDC director Robert Redfield told NPR on Friday that he was proud of the agency's response to the coronavirus pandemic and that he disagreed with his incoming successor's conclusion that the "gold standard for the nation's public health — has been tarnished."

Why it matters: The CDC has faced sharp criticism throughout its nearly year-long response to the coronavirus pandemic over several issues, including some of its messaging and guidance, which has been described as inconsistent and confusing.