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COVID-19 pandemic biggest challenge for the EU since it was established, says Merkel

Only a strong Europe can be the response to the crisis, she emphasized

BERLIN, April 6./TASS/. The current coronavirus pandemic is the biggest challenge for the European Union since it was established, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told journalists in Berlin on Monday.

"In my opinion, the EU has faced the hardest trial since the moment it was established," Merkel stressed, pointing out that the pandemic has hit all countries of the EU. With this in view, all EU nations must be interested in seeing that Europe emerges from the crisis even stronger, the chancellor said.

"For a long term, Germany will feel good if Europe feels good," she added. "That is why, only a strong Europe can be the response [to the crisis]," she emphasized.

In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe.

On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. To date, approximately 1,300,000 people have been infected worldwide and roughly 70,000 deaths have been reported. That said, over 265,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.