Since the news of COVID-191 started to circulate around Japan, people have wanted to know where specifically cases have been found. When there is a highly contagious strain of a foreign virus running rampant, the last thing a lot of people want to do is put themselves or their families at risk. Unfortunately, the municipal, prefectural, and federal governments in the country have tried to keep locations under wraps in an attempt to minimise the risk of a temporary economic disaster in any given area2, but the data is available if you know where to look. Fortunately a university student from Kyushu University invested a little bit of time, learned how to code up a quick website, and put the data online in a visual manner that is both easy to understand and appreciate.
The map is interactive and contains data from the ministry of health and welfare, breaking down the cases numerically and by municipality. Red dots are people who are currently infected, identified by order of the infection3. Green represents the number of cases where the infected patient recovered.
As one would expect, everybody is looking forward to seeing more green.
Based on this chart, the nearest case to my home is about 13km away, not too far from the dealership where I bought my car. Given how many people in the neighbourhood work in and around the area with known cases, there is an obvious need to pay attention, refrain from licking sidewalks, and observe proper hygiene when using and returning from public spaces. That said, it's great that a university student with no background in programming was able to learn enough to build this website and share the data with people across the country. My wife and I are both indebted to him as it saves a great deal of time when sifting through the news for recent updates.
Hopefully some level of government takes the initiative to copy this website and provide people with easy-to-understand, reliable, and recent information. Sadly, governments are generally not known for being able to communicate effectively unless they're demanding something from citizens.
Colloquially known as the coronavirus, though there are many coronaviruses. This XKCD explains the term's usage quite well.
People are often too cautious about things in Japan. It can become very tiring very quickly. There are some advantages to the conservative approach, though.
If the number is 350, that means the person identified is the 350th known case, not that there are 350 infected people in the area.