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March 19 (Reuters) - European shares edged higher from near-seven year lows on Thursday as another set of dramatic stimulus measures by the bloc's central bank injected a ray of hope around its preparedness to tackle a major health crisis gripping the continent.
After volatile trading in Euro Stoxx 50 futures earlier in the day, the pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.5% at 0815 GMT, with almost all the major country indexes trading higher.
The European Central Bank joined peers in Japan, Australia and the United States in launching a fresh wave of emergency stimulus to help businesses battered by a near halt in economic activity from the coronavirus pandemic.
Although banking and oil and gas stocks rose in early trading, travel and leisure firms fell another 3% on growing concerns of a complete collapse of the sector.
Germany's Lufthansa said on Thursday the airline industry may not survive without state aid if the virus outbreak lasted for a long time. (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)