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ECB's Lagarde calls for ambitious fiscal response to coronavirus

LONDON, March 12 (Reuters) - The coronavirus outbreak has inflicted a major shock to global growth and governments will need to mount an ambitious fiscal response to counter its affects, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said on Thursday.

"The spread of the coronavirus ... has been a major shock to the growth prospects of the global and euro area economies and has heightened market volatility. Even if ultimately temporary in nature, it will have a significant impact on economic activity," Lagarde told a news conference following the central bank's policy meeting.

Lagarde called on governments to work together to confront the economic and health impacts of the crisis.

"Governments and all other policy institutions are called upon to take timely and targeted actions to address the public health challenge of containing the spread of the coronavirus and mitigate its economic impact," Lagarde said.

"In particular, an ambitious and coordinated fiscal policy response is required to support businesses and workers at risk." (Writing by Toby Chopra; Editing by Catherine Evans)