The outbreak of COVID-19 has rapidly expanded across the globe since the first cases of infections with the new coronavirus were confirmed in Wuhan, China, in December. In Japan, the number of domestic infections has continued to increase since mid-January. The World Health Organization, which declared a global health emergency on Jan. 30, raised its threat assessment for COVID-19 to the highest risk on Feb. 28.

The cases in Japan drew intense international attention after more than 700 of the 3,711 passengers and crew aboard the cruise ship Diamond Princess, which arrived in early February in Yokohama, became infected with the virus. People aboard the ship included some 760 foreigners from 56 countries and territories.

The government has carried the latest information on the coronavirus outbreak on the website of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry — mainly in Japanese. The English, Chinese and Korean versions of the website ran machine-translated information — and many translation errors were pointed out by domestic media last month. The ministry has since put up links on its website to special pages on the new coronavirus in English and Chinese carrying information supposedly compiled by professional translators.