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Photo: Miquel Benitez/Getty Images

Spain exceeded 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, becoming the first country in Western Europe to hit the milestone, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The state of play: Spain, which reported 16,973 cases over the previous 24 hours, was one of the most affected countries when the pandemic started, and cases have been on the rise since September, according to NPR.

  • Experts say the true number of cases and deaths is likely bigger than what's been reported due to insufficient testing, low hospitalization and asymptomatic cases, AP writes.

The big picture: The country has tightened restrictions as the case count surges.

  • Earlier Wednesday, the regional government of northern Aragón announced it closed city limits of Zaragoza, Huesca and Teruel
  • The Spanish government ordered a partial lockdown in Madrid on Oct. 1, but was met with resistance from the regional government, which said the lockdown was "not legally valid," BBC reports.
  • Regional governments in Navarra and La Rioja are also preparing to close their borders this week.

On Tuesday, Spain's Health Ministry warned that the government may decree a national state of emergency, La Vanguardia reports.

  • "Some very hard weeks are coming," the national Health Minister Salvador Illa said. "The second wave is not longer a threat, but a reality in all of Europe."

What to watch: Illa plans to meet with health officials across the region on Thursday to discuss further virus strategies.

Go deeper

Operation Warp Speed leader: COVID vaccine push is "isolated from a political environment"

Moncef Slaoui in the Rose Garden on Nov. 13. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Moncef Slaoui, the White House's top scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed, told Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the Trump administration's efforts to accelerate the development of a coronavirus vaccine is "isolated from a political environment" and that a change in administration "doesn't, frankly, make a difference" on its efficacy.

Why it matters: Slaoui told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that he has not yet had contact with Joe Biden's transition team, as the president-elect prepares to inherit one of the country's biggest crises ahead of an expected vaccine distribution effort that would require massive logistical cooperation between states and the federal government.

In photos: Americans wait at food banks before Thanksgiving

Residents line up in their cars at a food distribution site in Clermont, Fla., Nov. 21. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Thousands of Americans waited in long lines at food banks in the week before Thanksgiving to pick up turkeys, canned goods, broccoli and other vegetables.

Why it matters: As the holiday season approaches, families across the U.S. are in need of food assistance due to chronic unemployment and economic hardship caused by COVID-19 — and many food pantries already served an unprecedented number of people this spring.

10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

California governor and family in quarantine after coronavirus exposure

California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) tweeted late Sunday that he and his family are quarantining after being exposed to COVID-19.

Details: Newsom said they learned Friday that three of his children had come into contact with a California Highway Patrol officer who tested positive for the coronavirus. "Thankfully, the entire family tested negative today," Newsom said.