Mexico City’s luchadores take on new opponent: Covid-19

By Eduard Ribas i Admetlla

Mexico City, Mar 23 (efe-epa).- “The Bandit” and eight other Mexican wrestlers swapped the ring on Tuesday for the capital’s subway, where they made sure commuters wore face masks to knock out the coronavirus pandemic.

The luchadores jumped into the subway carriages, distributing masks and disinfecting people, and even chastising those not wearing protection.

“We are bringing awareness to all those people who do not care and still say that the coronavirus does not exist,” said The Bandit, dressed in a gold-sequined jacket and with his torso exposed.

“We come with face masks, we come with sanitizer and with all the safety regulations that must be put in place in the subway and to be aware of the coronavirus.”

The initiative is part of a campaign by the Mexico City Youth Institute to promote the use of masks, which consists of persuading with humor those who resist wearing them, or who wear them badly.

In recent days they were in the capital’s Zona Rosa, in the Central de Abasto, considered the largest market in Latin America, and in the Jamaica Market.

And new fights await them, because soon they will visit La Viga, a market packed every Easter with families buying fish.

“There are people who really get angry, they get upset. There are others who take it as a game,” said The Bandit, who was impressed with the vast majority of subway users who do wear masks.

However, there were some people going mask-free or wearing them under their noses. Some of these saw the imposing group of fighters arrive and tried to run away, without much success.

Their lesson: the wrestlers forced them to wear a face mask, sprayed them with disinfectant and, in some cases, tossed the offenders into the air several times.

“That way you won’t forget to put it on,” a wrestler said.

On the other hand, the compliant, who are the majority of the 5 million people who get on the Mexico City subway every day, welcomed the masked vigilantes and asked to take photos with them.

One of their admirers was José Antonio Godínez, who before the pandemic liked going to the wrestling arena “to let off steam what you can’t at home.”

As he struggled to keep his loose mask from falling under his nose, the pharmacy worker celebrated the luchadores’ initiative. He stressed that wearing a mask “is a responsibility of oneself” and regretted that many in the subway remove their masks to eat.

This and other infractions are the ones that the fighters scrutinized as they ran through the crowded carriages under the slogan: “The fight continues.”

For many, the word of a wrestler is stronger than that of the authorities.

“I think that the image of the luchador is super important in Mexico, so fortunately we have had a good response from people and they support us,” said Therius, a wrestler with green tights in charge of touring the carriages exclusively for the use of women.

Indeed, the fight against the pandemic continues. With 198,239 deaths and 2,197,160 official infections, Mexico is the third country in the world in number of deaths, behind the United States and Brazil.

So far, 5.78 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered, while a total of 734,463 people have received the two doses necessary to complete inoculation. EFE-EPA

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