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K-pop singer says he was trying to raise coronavirus awareness with April Fools’ Day joke

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

A South Korean singer has apologized after posting a video to Instagram as an April Fools’ Day prank telling his fans that he had been infected with coronavirus.

Kim Jae-joong apologized in a statement posted to Instagram Wednesday after deleting his original post, explaining that his judgement was “not right.”

“I sincerely apologize to those who were damaged and to those whose administrative work was hindered due to a post I wrote on social media and due to Covid-19,” Kim wrote.

Kim “wanted to convey the dangers of this moment to people who don’t listen while there are big and small warnings on various information media and the internet,” with his original post, the singer added.

His now-deleted post warned fans to heed government warnings, explaining that his supposed failure to do so had resulted in his hospitalization. Some critics have called on Kim to be punished over the prank, including a petition to the South Korean government reported by CNN to have the support of more than 13,000 signatures.

South Korean government officials said in response that Kim is unlikely to be punished, as his conduct did not fall under laws forbidding making false statements to medical personnel.

“Whether there are other parts for punishment, [we] will have to see, but it’s difficult to punish under the Infectious Disease Prevention Law,” an official with South Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare said, according to CNN.

South Korea has reported just under 10,000 cases of coronavirus, and has been hailed for its response to the virus which included drive-through testing in some major urban centers.

Tags April Fools Coronavirus COVID-19 K-pop Kim Jae-joong South Korea

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