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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been infected with COVID-19. 

While rumors have circulated for weeks about the dictator’s health, state-run newspaper Rodong Shinmun announced the news Tuesday saying Kim “suffered in high fever in the middle of the anti-pandemic battle,” according to translations from the South China Morning Post.

The newspaper has reported multiple instances of Kim being exposed to the illness while visiting with workers already infected with COVID-19.

“When the great leader visited the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters on the first night since the maximum emergency anti-pandemic measures have been in place, some of the officials there were already infected with the ‘malignant epidemic’,” Rodong Shinmun said.

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In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his wife Ri Sol Ju prepare medicines at an unannounced place in North Korea Wednesday, June 15, 2022, to send them to Haeju City where an infectious disease occurred.

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his wife Ri Sol Ju prepare medicines at an unannounced place in North Korea Wednesday, June 15, 2022, to send them to Haeju City where an infectious disease occurred. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

The news confirms hints and speculation about the dictator’s health after those close to him referenced him battling an illness earlier this month.

His sister, Kim Yo Jong, did not outright confirm that her brother had the virus, but said he was “seriously ill” and had a “high fever.”

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“Even though he was seriously ill with a high fever, he could not lie down for a moment thinking about the people he had to take care of until the end in the face of the anti-epidemic war,” she said on North Korean television.

FILE - Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, is seen in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 2, 2019.

FILE – Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, is seen in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 2, 2019. (Jorge Silva/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Pyongyang has struggled to put the pandemic behind them as officials contract and recontract the virus.

Earlier this month, Kim Yo Jong declared victory over the coronavirus, lifting emergency measures and beginning the country’s intended return to normalcy. 

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In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his wife Ri Sol Ju prepare medicines at an unannounced place in North Korea Wednesday, June 15, 2022, to send them to Haeju City where an infectious disease occurred.

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his wife Ri Sol Ju prepare medicines at an unannounced place in North Korea Wednesday, June 15, 2022, to send them to Haeju City where an infectious disease occurred. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

Experts have pushed back on reports of Pyongyang’s victory over COVID, however, with cases abruptly halting on July 28. The government’s official stats say COVID had a death rate of just 0.0016%, or 74 out of some 4.77 million in the country, according to Reuters.

North Korea has not provided reliable data for how many of its citizens were infected with COVID. It has instead relied on the daily number of patients with a fever, which peaked at 47.7 million, according to Reuters.

Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.

Timothy Nerozzi is a writer for Fox News Digital. You can follow him on Twitter @timothynerozzi and can email him at [email protected]

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https://www.foxnews.com/world/north-korea-kim-jong-un-contracts-covid-19-state-media

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