North Korea's Kim Jong Un celebrated the birthday of the country's former leader on Sunday, when he made his public debut for the first time in over three weeks when a deadly corona virus raged in neighboring China.
Kim "praised his father Kim Jong Il at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang, which contains the embalmed corpses of his father and grandfather," the official newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported.
The COVID-19, which originated in China and killed more than 1,600 people, has alarmed the north and caused it to close its borders and to suspend all flights and trains to and from its huge neighbor and key ally.
Pyongyang said nothing about cases in the north, but stopped international tourism and extended the quarantine period to 30 days for those suspected of carrying the virus, including foreigners.
The state media has worn photos of masked officials holding emergency meetings and photos of workers disinfecting public places such as hospitals, schools, train stations, and hair salons.
The gig is Kim's first in 22 days after attending the New Year celebrations and then disappearing from the public due to global concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.
The north has poor medical infrastructure and a chronic shortage of medication and has taken similar measures in the past. As of October 2014, tourists have been banned for more than four months to keep the Ebola virus away, although no cases have been reported in Asia.
On the Mansu Hill in Pyongyang, a steady stream of North Koreans rallied on Sunday to show their own respect, placing flowers at the feet of the giant bronze statues of the country's founder, Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung.
The anniversaries of the birth and death of the two older Kims are important holidays on the North Korean calendar. February 16 is celebrated as the day of the shining star.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)