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Labor’s worst fears have been realised with Anthony Albanese testing positive for COVID.
In a statement late Thursday, the opposition leader said: “Following a routine PCR test this afternoon ahead of interstate travel to Western Australia, I have returned a positive result for COVID this evening”. He has been testing regularly.
“I will be isolating at home in Sydney for the next seven days and will continue to follow health guidelines and advice,” he said.
Albanese said that “while at home I will continue my responsibilities as alternative prime minister”.
“I am feeling fine so far - and thank everyone for their well wishes,” he said. “I am grateful to know that I will have access to the world’s best health care if I need it, because of Medicare.”
Senior Labor figures on Thursday night were discussing reconfiguring the campaign.
Labor had war-gamed the possibility Albanese would get COVID during the campaign because, unlike Scott Morrison, he had not had it previously.
If Albanese remains well he will be able to make some appearances virtually, and conduct media interviews.
But his stepping off the actual campaign trail will mean much more weight will fall on other Labor frontbenchers.
It was not clear on Thursday night whether the leader’s plane would proceed on its earlier planned route with a “surrogate” leader.
The setback comes just as Albanese, who on Thursday flew from Queensland to regional NSW before returning to Sydney, appeared to be hitting his straps after a bad first week. An audience of undecided voters scored him the narrow winner in Wednesday’s people’s forum.
This article is republished from The Conversation is the world's leading publisher of research-based news and analysis. A unique collaboration between academics and journalists. It was written by: Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra.
Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.