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Coronavirus

Coronavirus cases in Germany jump to 117

A display shows the latest information on the spread of the novel coronavirus worldwide during a crisis meeting of government officials in Berlin on Feb. 28.   © Reuters

BERLIN (Reuters) -- The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has jumped to 117 from 66, the Robert Koch Institute for disease control said on Sunday.

A German government crisis committee has widened cross-border travel guidelines and canceled major international events, and the health minister has advised people with cold symptoms to stay away from mass events.

More than half of the cases are in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state where several schools and day care centers will be closed on Monday to try to prevent the spread of the virus after staff members tested positive.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told the mass-selling Bild am Sonntag newspaper that he expected a vaccine for the coronavirus to be available by the end of the year.

Asked if Germany would be ready to lock down cities and regions to control the epidemic, Seehofer said: "This would be the last resort." He did not say what needs to happen for Germany to enact such drastic measures.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said in remarks published on Sunday that Germany would be in a position to introduce fiscal stimulus measures should the coronavirus spark a global economic crisis.

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