K-pop star Jaejoong says he has COVID-19 as April Fool’s joke — and fans are not amused

South Korea singer-actor Kim Jae-joong attends the 13th Asian Film Awards on March 17, 2019 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

K-pop star Jaejoong said he tested positive for coronavirus as an April Fool’s joke on Wednesday.

“I have been infected with COVID-19. It is a result of my negligence, ignoring the cautionary words shared by the government and those around me,” the JYJ band member wrote.

The post continued: “A person’s individual actions can have such a big impact on society as a whole. I am so sorry to those who may have been infected because of me. My foolish judgment to live as though it couldn’t happen to me is why I am like this today.

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Jaejoong added that he was “currently hospitalized” and “reflecting on my past a lot and feeling both grateful and sorry.”

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“There are many things I want to say. There are many people I want to see so much,” the post concluded.

According to Soompi, Jaejoong’s agency CJeS Entertainment released a statement that it was currently trying to confirm the news as he is in Japan.

Shortly after, Jaejoong edited the caption to read: “What if the people we love, someone precious to us, contracted the virus? It’s such a heart-wrenching thing to think about.”

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The edited captioned continued: ” Currently, a growing number of my acquaintances and industry representatives are being tested positive. It is not something that is far away. When negligence turns a sad premonition into reality, it’s not something that we can simply end by wiping our tears away.”

“Although this did go quite far for April Fool’s Day, so many people worried about me in a short span of time,” he added.

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“Oh… and I don’t think of this as an April Fool’s joke. My family and my friends are getting sick.. and dying.. It’s never!! just someone else’s problem. I wanted to tell you that protecting myself is protecting the precious people around us,” Jaejoong wrote. “I will accept all punishment I receive from this post. I hope all of you are healthy.”

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Many fans of the JYJ band member took to social media after Jaejoong falsely claimed he had COVID-19, using the hashtag #JaejoongIsOverParty.

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Following the backlash, Jaejoong took to Instagram to apologize to fans and said the joke was a PSA for awareness in an effort to “minimize coronavirus casualties.”

“I am also personally aware that it was something that shouldn’t be done,” Jaejoong wrote, as per Soompi. “First, over the social media post I wrote, I want to express my sincere apologies to the people who have suffered because of COVID-19 and to the people who were disrupted in their administrative work.”

The post continued: “Bad judgment. I knew that’s what this was. Awareness of response methods and the dangerousness of the current virus outbreak. I wanted to convey that message because I hoped that people would be more aware and therefore we could minimize the number of people who suffer because of COVID-19.”

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“Contrary to the people who actually are working hard to get us out of COVID-19, there are many people who enjoy their leisure time while dressing just as usual and not wearing a mask. When I heard that, I thought there needed to be more awareness.”

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He said that he believes his April Fool’s post “went very far, but I thought that if people paid a large amount of interest to it, then they might listen.”

“This method has hurt a lot of people and I am receiving criticism for it. For causing distress, I sincerely apologize to the government agencies and medical professionals who are working hard because of COVID-19 and to the many people who are following instructions to give up on their lifestyles and are doing all they can to overcome this,” his post concluded.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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