South Korean singer and member of Korean pop group JYJ, Kim Jaejoong revealed on Instagram that he has tested positive for the fatal COVID-19. However, later it was revealed that the stunt was part of the singer's attempt at April Fool's Day prank.
The global pandemic has infected over 850,000 people and killed more than 42,000 ever since its outbreak in December last year.
Did Kim Jaejoong really contract the virus?
In an Instagram post uploaded few hours ago, the singer wrote that he has contracted the virus and was presently hospitalised. "I have contracted Coronavirus. It was careless of me to live disregarding all of the cautions provided by the government and those around me. Just how big could one individual's behavior impact all of society be."
"I am sorry to those who could have been infected by me. The stupid judgments I made, it's how I became like this. I lived thinking it would never happen to me. I am currently hospitalized. I currently feel grateful and apologetic, reflecting on my past. There are so many things I want to say...There are so many people I want to see..." the singer wrote in his post accompanied with a black photograph.
However, in a tweet posted by The Seoul Story, a Singapore-based Korean Events, Entertainment and Lifestyle News Site, it was mentioned that the news of Kim Jaejoong testing positive for the virus was false and it was an April Fool's Day joke. The tweet further went on to reveal that it was the singer's way of "trying to raise awareness about the virus."
Kim Jaejoong apologises for his prank
Later, the singer updated his post confirming that it was indeed an April Fool's day prank. In his updated post, the K-Pop singer wrote: "What if a person you love or a person precious to you was infected with a virus? That's something that is just heartbreaking. Despite that, there are still so many people who are wandering the streets, acting as if nothing will happen to them. Many people are worried that their families and loved ones can get sick because of those people. Thinking that you and people around you will just be safe, that's a mistake and it can cause a lot of damage."
Right now, many of my close acquaintances and staff are seeing increases in Coronavirus confirmations around them too. This is not just some faraway story. I don't think you can just end this with tears, when the sorrow caused by people's carelessness becomes actual reality. Let's just remain alert. And engrave it into our hearts."
"This prank was too much to be considered a simple April Fool's Day joke, but many people expressed their worry for me in a short time. Ha... I don't think this post is an April Fool's Joke. My family or my friends can be hurt... or die... but never!! It's not just something that happens to others. I wanted to tell everyone that protecting yourself is the solution to protecting those precious to you. I will accept all punishments that I deserve for this post. I hope everyone stays healthy," he wrote in the lengthy post.
Twitter criticises singer for his 'tasteless prank'
As soon as the story of the singer's health broke on Twitter, it started trending with Jaejoong hashtag. While initially his fans on social media were concerned about his health, soon the table turned with many criticising him for his dark sense of humour during the difficult times.
"I am saying this because i care about him. Jaejoong really needs to apologize," wrote one user. "Probably the most tasteless April Fools "prank" you could pull, especially given the current situation," wrote another.
"Sorry Jaejoong but you are cancelled. That's too insensitive. Imagine your fans are worried shit about your health and there you are fooling around in the middle of crisis. JOKES ARE MEANT TO BE FUNNY DUDE," wrote another user.