JYJ’s Jaejoong has apologized after an April Fools’ Day coronavirus prank backfired, leaving fans of the K-pop star confused and angry as the outbreak continues to spread and affect thousands worldwide.

Early Wednesday, the 34-year-old singer, whose full name is Kim Jae-joong, announced on Instagram in a since-deleted post that he tested positive for the coronavirus. Before Jaejoong revealed that his post was a joke and issued an apology claiming that his prank was an effort to help raise awareness, his false diagnosis made headlines across the globe.

His label C-JeS Entertainment RGC in Korea even began responding to initial reports and told fans they were working to confirm his whereabouts in Japan, Forbes reported. Had Jaejoong actually tested positive for the virus, other musicians including girl group Nogizaka46 and singer May J — whom he appeared on Japanese music show Utacon with just one day prior — would have been at risk of contracting the illness from him.

Korean pop news website Soompi has posted an English translation of the star’s apology.

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“I am also personally aware that it was something that shouldn’t be done,” he began his statement shared on Instagram. “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.”

“Bad judgment. I knew that’s what this was,” Jaejoong admitted before saying that he was trying to bring more awareness to the crisis.

View this post on Instagram 해서는 안 될 행동이라고도 저 스스로도 인식하고 있습니다. 먼저 제가 SNS 쓴 글로 인해 코로나 바이러스 19로 인해 피해 받으신 분들, 행정업무에 지장을 받으신 분들께 진심으로 죄송하다는 말씀과 사과드립니다. 옳지 않다는 판단. 알고 있습니다. 현재 느슨해진 바이러스로부터의 대처 방식과 위험성의 인식. 코로나 바이러스 19로 인해 피해 받을 분들을 최소화시키기 위해 경각심을 가졌으면 하는 마음에서 메시지를 전달하고 싶었습니다. 봄이 찾아와 따뜻해진 계절의 야외에서의 여가생활, 개학이 미뤄지고 여유로워진 시간을 활용한 밀폐된 공간에서의 접촉 등으로 제2의 제3의 코로나 패닉을 낳을 수 있다는 생각에 너무나 무섭습니다. 저의 아버지도 얼마 전 폐암 수술을 받으시고 줄곧 병원에 다니셨습니다. 그러면서 병원에 계신 의료진과 환자들을 보면서 뭔가 화가 나기도 하고 바이러스가 남의 일이 아니라 자신의 일이었다면 하는 생각이 들었습니다. 그래서 정작 코로나 바이러스 19로 인해 벗어나고자 노력하는 분들과는 반대로 평상시와 다를 바 없는 복장과 마스크를 착용하지 않은채 여가생활을 즐기고 계시는 분들이 많다는 이야기에 경각심이 필요 하다 생각 했습니다 다양한 정보매체와 인터넷에서도 크고 작은 주의를 요청하고 있는 가운데 그 이야기를 들어주지 않는 사람들에게 어떻게해서든 현시점의 위험성을 전달하고 싶었습니다. "제발. 귀 기울여주세요. 제발. 아프지 말고 아픔을 겪지 마세요." 라구요. 제 주변에서마저도 확진자가 생겨나고 있습니다. 먼 곳의 이야기가 아니란 걸 확신했고 두려움은 배로 느껴졌습니다. 사람을 잃고 나서야 반성하는 태도는 아무런 도움이 되지 않습니다. 답답하고 힘들지만 지금보다 더.. 조금 더 노력해서 이 힘든 시기를 함께 이겨내고 싶습니다. 오늘의 글..지나치지만, 지나칠 정도의 관심을 가져주신다면 이야를 들어주지 않을까라는 방법이 많은 분들에게 상처를 드리고 비난을 받고 있습니다. 제 글로 인하여 코로나 바이러스를 위해 애쓰시는 정부기관과 의료진들 그리고 지침에 따라 생활을 포기 하며 극복을 위해 힘쓰는 많은 분들께 상심을 드린 점 진심으로 사과드립니다.

A post shared by J_JUN 김재중 ジェジュン (@jj_1986_jj) on Apr 1, 2020 at 4:41am PDT


“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,” he wrote. “It’s so scary to think that things like people spending time outside in the warm weather as spring arrives, or coming in contact with others in an enclosed space while making use of leisurely time as the start of the semester is postponed, could cause a secondary or tertiary resurgence in COVID-19 cases.”

“In many different kinds of media and on the internet, there are both big and small requests for people to take caution, but there are people who do not listen to that, and I wanted to convey the dangerousness of the current situation to them one way or another. ‘Please, listen. Please. Don’t get sick,'” he shared.

View this post on Instagram 고독한 재중

A post shared by J_JUN 김재중 ジェジュン (@jj_1986_jj) on Feb 23, 2020 at 4:15am PST


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The star then revealed that his father recently underwent lung cancer surgery and said that he personally knows individuals who have contracted the virus.

“There are also confirmed cases among the people I know,” Jaejoong told his followers. “This made me feel certain that this is not something that is happening far away, and it made me more scared.”

He concluded his lengthy statement writing: “My post today… it 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.”

Despite his apology, fans shared their enraged reactions on social media.

View this post on Instagram 😋

A post shared by J_JUN 김재중 ジェジュン (@jj_1986_jj) on Feb 12, 2020 at 5:40am PST


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“I thought he had it and forgot it’s April fool’s but I have family members who have died from the COVID 19 and in no way is that something to joke about. I was a jaejoong fan but I’m highly disappointed in him,” one person wrote on Twitter. “Jaejoong corny as hell for his ‘joke,'” another added. “JAEJOONG LIED ABOUT HAVING THE CORONAVIRUS TO ‘RAISE AWARENESS???’ WHO IS THIS BITCH? JUSSIE SMOLLETT?,” one wrote. 

Some fans sprung to his defense, “Suddenly people who didn’t even know Jaejoong appeared to cancel him? LIKE WHO THE F— ARE YOU? We don’t give a s— what you think. I found out about the joke and I prefer to ignore it ’cause it was a bad for me, but I will not stop loving him when I know his intentions.”

One pointed out that the star has made tone-deaf April Fools’ jokes in the past, “Just found out jaejoong made an april’s fools ‘joke’ once about child marriage. Seems like he should have been over then but that’s just me.”

Meanwhile some Twitter users simply had words of support for the star, “STAY STRONG JAEJOONG. I know you’re anxious with everything that is going on but please don’t scare us like that again. PLEASE KEEP FIGHTING!!” Another tweeted, “Stay strong Jaejoong … try to read your international fans comments … majority of us are still supporting u .. don’t feel hurt too much hugs.”

View this post on Instagram 25일만에 비행한다 우리 냥이들 기다려🐱

A post shared by J_JUN 김재중 ジェジュン (@jj_1986_jj) on Jan 23, 2020 at 8:13pm PST


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As of Wednesday, the United States has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases with 188,247 positive diagnoses. At least 3,921 people in the U.S. have died from coronavirus-related illness and 877,422 people have contracted the virus worldwide.

The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a public health emergency on March 11, marking the first global pandemic since the zika epidemic in 2016.

The CDC says that in addition to social distancing, the best prevention methods include careful handwashing, avoiding touching the face, moving away from people who are coughing or sneezing and staying home at signs of illness.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.

Source: People.com (https://people.com/music/jaejoong-coronavirus-diagnosis-prank-apology/)