Masks in favor of masks. The inhabitants of the island of Java, in Indonesia, are receiving warnings these days to protect themselves against the covid-19 of two of the most popular superheroes: worldwide, Superman and Spider-Man. Comic figures have inspired a small group of volunteers who have dressed up as them and walk the streets of the city of Sukoharjo to remind Indonesians to stay home for the duration of the health crisis.
The superhero duo has been joined by another that is popular in the Asian country and in others around it: Gatotkacha, a half-man, half-demon warrior inspired by a character from the Indian Majabárata. All three hand out masks, jars of sanitizing gel, and small bamboo drums, while showing passers-by how to properly wash their hands and put the masks on. They also ensure that there are no robberies in the areas where they operate, especially punished by waves of thefts.
In Indonesia there have been more than 11,000 infections with coronavirus and 845 people have died, although medical experts believe that the cases must be much more due to the weak response of the Government to the pandemic and a low number of tests on the population.
“(If) superheroes support (the measures), of course the children will obey the orders,” says Widanarko, the coordinator of the idea designed to educate people on prophylactic measures. “The first, wash your hands; the second, do not go wandering around; and always with the mask on.”
People in the area can use the traditional small bamboo drums that superheroes are handing out to raise the alarm of robberies or robberies by criminals who take advantage of the current anti-coronavirus measures to storm the houses of the Kampung Larangan neighborhood. One of its residents, Herni Kurniawati, appreciates the idea and says that it will encourage people to change their habits for good and protect themselves against the virus. “Normally, it is very difficult to ask children to put on the mask, because it is very annoying for them,” he says.
In the city of Makassar, on the neighboring island of Sulawesi, another group of superheroes prowls the streets to convey the message. At a congested crosswalk, several volunteers have dressed up as Deadpool, Black Panther, and other characters, as well as the Indonesian superhero Bima-X. They show passers-by and those who drive by car with the messages “Stay home” and “Get well soon, Earth.”
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