Kim Jong-un seen for first time in a month amid coronavirus outbreak

Kim Jong-un bows before statue of his father as he visits mausoleum in first public appearance in nearly a month amid coronavirus outbreak

  • Kim Jong-un visited a palace to commemorate his father’s birthday on Saturday 
  • Marks first time North Korean leader has been seen in public since January 25
  • Kim went missing as North Korea tried to prevent an outbreak of coronavirus 
  • Country has denied having any cases despite the virus spreading across Asia 

Kim Jong-un has been pictured in public while commemorating the anniversary of his father’s birth – the first time he made such an appearance in almost a month.

The dictator was photographed bowing in front of statues of father Kim Jong-il and grandfather Kim Il-sung at the Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang on Saturday.

Kim has been absent from the public eye since January 25 while North Korea tries to prevent an outbreak of coronavirus as the deadly disease sweeps across Asia. 

Kim Jong-un was pictured at Pyongyang’s Kumsusan Palace of the Sun on Saturday to commemorate father Kim Jong-il’s birthday

The ceremony marked the first time that Kim has been seen in public since January 25 as North Korea attempts to contain a coronavirus outbreak sweeping across Asia

Kim bowed down in front of wax sculptures of father Kim Jong-il (right) and grandfather Kim Il-sung (left) during ceremonies across North Korea on Saturday

North Korea has officially denied having any cases, despite sources within the country suggesting otherwise.

A construction worker from North Korea is thought to have died in Pyongyang on Saturday after returning from Qatar via China in January, Daily NK reported.

While the exact cause of death was not recorded, sources said the man – in his 40s – was suffering from a high fever and acute pneumonia, both signs of the virus.

If the infection does spread to North Korea, there are fears it could devastate the country because of its under-funded healthcare system and starved population. 

North Korea would also be unlikely to wipe the infection out on its own, giving the disease a safe place from which to continue mutating and spreading.

The country keeps public health data a closely-guarded state secret, meaning they are unlikely to ever acknowledge infections. 

North Korea has officially denied having any coronavirus cases, though sources within the country have raised fears that the infection is spreading there

While other civilians and soldiers were pictured wearing face masks during the ceremonies, Kim and his entourage did not have their faces covered

Minister of Public Health Oh Chun-bok urged North Koreans to remain vigilant in a message broadcast on state TV on Tuesday.

‘The fact that not a single confirmed or suspected case of the new coronavirus has been found in our country could cause people to be caught off-guard,’ he claimed.

North Korea has tightened its border with China and increased the mandatory quarantine period for high-risk people to 30 days in an attempt to stop the infection.

Soldiers and civilians in the capital Pyongyang have been pictured wearing facemasks as a precaution against infection.

Kim was not wearing one during Saturday’s celebrations, which he attended alongside officials Choe Ryong Hae, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly and Pak Pong Ju, vice chairman of the State Affairs Commission.  

Soldiers wearing face masks take part in a flower-laying ceremony for Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang on Saturday in order to mark his birthday

North Korea has been disinfecting public spaces and quarantining high-risk individuals in an effort to contain coronavirus, but claims to have no confirmed cases

Almost 1,900 people have now died from coronavirus – officially named COVID-19 – around the world while more than 73,000 cases have been confirmed.

Ninety-nine per cent of cases have been in China, where tens of millions of residents are in lockdown to contain the escalating crisis.

The Diamond Princess cruise, docked off the coast of Japan, has the largest cluster of cases outside of China, with 542 passengers infected.

Infections began in the transit hub city of Wuhan late last year, and have since spread to more than 30 countries around the world.

The virus affects the respiratory system, reproducing inside cells causing a high fever, coughs and sneezes.

It is highly infectious, and can be passed from patient to patient through the air. 

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