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A prescription for solace during coronavirus pandemic

Video games are being prescribed as a recommended treatment for our ongoing homebound existence, brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Game makers from Activision Blizzard to Zynga on Saturday began kicking off a new initiative entitled #PlayApartTogether to encourage people on how to entertain themselves and also practice physical distancing.

The initiative, supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), is particularly noteworthy because WHO previously designated video game addiction as an official mental health disorder.

But the group hopes that the industry can “reach millions with important messages to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Ray Chambers, the WHO ambassador for global strategy in a statement. Game companies will encourage players to stay distanced and observe other safety measures including hand hygiene, he said.

“We’re at a crucial moment in defining outcomes of this pandemic,” he said in a subsequent tweet. “Games industry companies have a global audience – we encourage all to #PlayApartTogether. More physical distancing + other measures will help to flatten the curve + save lives.”

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