Following the singer’s now-deleted Instagram post, which was on display to his 1.9m followers, the JYJ singer’s Korea-based label and agency C-Jes Entertainment RGC rushed to confirm the news as he was in Japan for television commitments.
However, the post was later revealed to have been an attempt to “raise awareness” of the illness.
Jae-Joong said the post was not intended as a joke, acknowledging: “[I] did go quite far for April Fool’s Day.”
He added that he “has family and friends who are getting sick and dying”.
The original post read, translated by K-pop news site Soompi, read: “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. 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. I am currently hospitalised. I am reflecting on my past a lot and feeling both grateful and sorry. There are many things I want to say. There are many people I want to see so much."
His later post read: “Although this did go quite far for April Fool’s Day, so many people worried about me in a short span of time... 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.