Coronavirus: Water from Japanese hot springs kills COVID, researchers say

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Coronavirus: Water from Japanese hot springs kills COVID, researchers say
Coronavirus: Water from Japanese hot springs kills COVID, researchers say

The waters of the Kusatu Onsen hot springs have been shown to inactivate the coronavirus according to testing carried out by a team at Gunma University.

People could be seen visiting the ancient springs in Gunma prefecture, and watching artists perform the traditional art of cooling hot springs named ‘Yumomi,’ as they sang folk songs while stirring the water with large wooden paddles, on Saturday.

“In Oriental medicine, there was a history of using hot springs as a spa therapy. Since that time, Kusatsu Onsen (hot spring resort) has been loved by all over Japan because it has a particularly high medicinal effect,” Kusatsu mayor Nobutada Kuroiwa explained.

Visitors could also be spotted cleaning their hands at a fountain next to the wooden conduits used to cool down the hot spring waters before they are distributed to public baths around the city.

“If you wash your hands with disinfection liquid, your hands will get very rough, but the hot springs give you a moist feeling and are very good for your skin, so we hope that this hand wash will be used instead of the disinfectant,” Kuroiwa added.

A team from Gunma University found that the waters from the hot springs rapidly inactivated the coronavirus earlier in the month, with the high acidity of the water believed to be behind its anti-viral powers.

“Kusatsu has a very high acidity, so it is a powerful hot water that is said to cure athlete’s foot and atopy, so I hope that this hot water will also blow away the coronavirus,” visitor Nobuaki Makino said.

More natural handwashing fountains are expected to be set up around the Yubatake source as a free-flowing disinfectant source as a natural alternative for chemical hand sanitisers.

The coronavirus, which studies have shown is primarily spread through airborne droplets not through contact with surfaces, can also of course be destroyed with simple hand soap.

*SOUNDBITES*

SOT, Nobutada Kuroiwa, Kusatsu Mayor (Japanese): “Japanese people are very fond of hot springs, and when medical science was not well developed, it was difficult to cure with Western medicine, but in Oriental medicine, there was a history of using hot springs as a spa therapy. Since that time, Kusatsu Onsen (hot spring resort) has been loved by all over Japan because it has a particularly high medicinal effect and is like a medicine.”​

SOT, Nobutada Kuroiwa, Kusatsu Mayor (Japanese): “Among the hot springs in Japan, [Kusatsu] it has long been said to be the one with extremely high medicinal properties and effectiveness, and with the inactivation of the coronavirus, the loss of infectivity, we would like to make use of this hot spring again to rebuild our town.”

SOT, Nobutada Kuroiwa, Kusatsu Mayor (Japanese): “This time, we asked a local university, called Gunma University to research this hot spring. Regarding the results, 97.5 percent of the novel coronavirus in 10 seconds, 98.5 percent in 30 seconds, and 99.12 percent in one minute, it has been found that the hot spring has the effect of inactivating the coronavirus, that is, losing its infectivity.”

SOT, Nobutada Kuroiwa, Kusatsu Mayor (Japanese): “Under such circumstances, about this hand washing, as you can see the installed facility behind now, if you wash your hands with disinfection liquid, your hands will get very rough, but the hot springs give you a moist feeling and are very good for your skin, so we hope that this hand wash will be used instead of the disinfectant.”

SOT, Nobuaki Makino, Visitor (Japanese) : “I’ve heard that the hot spring source of Kusatsu is effective for the coronavirus. Kusatsu has a very high acidity, so it is a powerful hot water that is said to cure athlete’s foot and atopy (atopic dermatitis), so I hope that this hot water will also blow away the coronavirus.”

SOT, Yutaka Yatabe, Visitor (Japanese) : “I heard that the hot springs of Kusatsu Onsen inactivate the coronavirus, so I came to Kusatsu to enjoy the hot springs. Not being able to go anywhere is not good for the economy. Well, I hope I can contribute in this way, so I can enjoy it.”

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