North Korea’s Kim Jong Un makes first public appearance in 22 days amid virus outbreak

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SEOUL (Reuters) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made his first public appearance in 22 days amid an outbreak of coronavirus, state media reported on Saturday, to visit a national mausoleum and mark the anniversary of his father, the late leader Kim Jong Il’s birth.

Kim Jong-Un

Kim Jong Un paid tribute to the statue of former leader Kim Jong Il at Pyongyang’s Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, his first public appearance since he attended Lunar New Year celebrations on Jan. 25, state media Korean Central News Agency said.

North Korea has not confirmed any cases of the new coronavirus, but state media said the government was extending to 30 days the quarantine period for people showing symptoms, and all government institutions and foreigners living in the country were expected to comply “unconditionally.”

Late leader Kim Jong Il’s birthday, Feb. 16, is a national holiday celebrated as the Day of the Shining Star.

Accompanying Kim Jong Un to the mausoleum were high ranking party officials including Choe Ryong Hae, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly and Pak Pong Ju, vice chairman of the State Affairs Commission.