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Korean pop music star Jaejoong is saving face after he pranked his adoring fans and the world with an April Fools’ Day gaffe by claiming he had contracted the novel coronavirus that has ravaged many nations’ populations and has sent government leaders scrambling to mitigate its spread.

“I am also personally aware that it was something that shouldn’t be done,” the JYJ band member wrote in a lengthy Instagram caption on Wednesday to his nearly 2 million followers, according to the Korean pop news website Soompi, which posted an English translation.

He continued: “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.”

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According to The New York Times, Jaejoong recognized the tone-deaf blunder just an hour after posting it and in his apology, the international artist tried to walk back the remarks, and instead attempted to sell the lapse in judgment as an attempt to bring “awareness” to the direness of the situation. The paper said Jaejoong even deactivated his entire account at one moment before apologizing.

“Bad judgment. I knew that’s what this was,” he continued. “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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In his statement, Jaejoong also pointed to his own father’s history with lung cancer and the resentment he often felt toward the hospitals his father frequently visited.

“When I saw the medical staff and patients at the hospital, I felt a bit angry and I wished that people thought of the virus as not someone else’s problem, but their own problem,” Jaejoong wrote.

After announcing his bogus coronavirus contraction, the singer had received well-wishes of support from fans before the post, which has since been deleted, went viral for all the wrong reasons.

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

“I will accept all punishment I receive from this post,” he added. “I hope all of you are healthy.”

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Additionally, Jaejoong’s music label, C-JeS Entertainment, told the news website Allkpop that it would “check on the matter.”

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