The Latest: Japan governor touts gargling product for virus

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

People wearing face masks to help protect against the spread of the new coronavirus pass on a crosswalk on a street in Tokyo, Tuesday, Aug, 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

TOKYO — A governor in Japan is drawing skeptical criticism after he touted a gargling product as effective against the coronavirus, an assertion that, despite its dubiousness, emptied some store shelves of the medicine.

Shares of Shionogi & Co. and Meiji Holdings Co., which make Isojin, soared in Tokyo Tuesday trading after Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura made the comments.

Yoshimura referred to a study carried out by the Osaka regional government on a sample of just 41 people. Experts said such a study is inconclusive.

Shionogi and Meiji shares were already coming down Wednesday, as subsequent Japanese media reports debunked Yoshimura’s claim.

Daily confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been shooting up in Japan, to more than 1,000 people. The nation had previously scored success in containing the cases, compared to harder hit nations like the U.S., Mexico and Brazil. Japan has recorded 1,023 cumulative deaths linked to COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins.

The high expectations on cures and vaccines underline the widespread worries in Japan, where there has been no lockdown but a series of warnings, asking people to wear masks, wash hands, social distance and gargle, even as businesses and restaurants stay open.

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