Killer plague game tops charts amid coronavirus

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Plague Inc's winning screenImage source, Getty Images

An app that tasks users with spreading a deadly virus around the world has skyrocketed in popularity in China amid the coronavirus outbreak.

On Wednesday, eight years after its release, the game became the bestselling app in China.

Some players have suggested people were downloading the game as a way to cope with fears surrounding the virus.

The coronavirus has so far killed at least 17 people in the country and infected more than 500 others.

Developed by UK-based Ndemic Creations, the strategy game, Plague Inc, puts the user in control of a disease they must develop into a global pandemic before the scientific community can develop a cure.

The overall aim is to "bring about the end of human history".

On Wednesday, Ndemic Creations tweeted it had been receiving a lot of questions regarding the coronavirus outbreak and directed users to the World Health Organization's website.

The game has been downloaded more than 120 million times since 2012 and been nominated for numerous game-of-the-year awards.

One user of Chinese social-media platform Weibo said: "The best way to eliminate fear is to look fear straight in the face."