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

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits his father and former leader Kim Jong Il's mausoleum. PHOTO: REUTERS
Kim speaks during a meeting of the Workers' Party of Korea in a photo released in December 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

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 (Feb 15), to visit a national mausoleum and mark the anniversary of the late leader Kim Jong Il's birth.

Mr Kim paid tribute to the statue of the former leader at Pyongyang's Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, his first public appearance since he attended Chinese New Year celebrations on Jan 25, state media Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) 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's birthday, Feb 16, is a national holiday celebrated as the Day of the Shining Star.

Accompanying Mr Kim 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.

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